Is LAX considering policy to prop up unions? Airlines say yes.

Airlines for America, the trade group representing of the nation’s largest airlines, is threatening legal action against the city of Los Angeles over proposed policy that it contends would give an unfair advantage to unions at LAX.

The issue involves proposed rules for which Certified Service Providers can operate at LAX. This is a fancy term for the third-party outfits that provide ground handling services for many major carriers at LAX, such as Turkish, Korean, China Eastern, Air France and even American Airlines. It’s cheaper for these airlines to hire contracted workers to handle baggage and marshal airplanes than to hire their own employees. A couple of the biggest companies that do this job are Menzies Aviation and Swissport.

The SEIU USWW, a powerful union that backed Mayor Eric Garcetti in the last election, wants to organize these workers. Thus far, it has had little success.

But now, according to the airline group, the city of Los Angeles is considering adopting new language language that would give the SEIU a leg up in this battle. The language would be inserted in the rules that govern which service providers may operate at LAX.

It’s complicated language, but Airlines for America says the tweaks are designed only to help unions.

“The provision would effectively mandate union representation and require bargaining and binding arbitration with un-elected union representatives — all of which is preempted by federal labor statutes,” wrote Elizabeth S. Dougherty, a lawyer for Airlines for America in a letter sent to Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners president Sean Burton.

Here’s the proposed language that Airlines for America does not like. It starts with Section 3.6 — Labor Harmony. From what I understand, there is already a “Labor Harmony” section inserted in the service provider agreement, but it lacks much in the way of teeth.

Proposed LAX Labor Peace Agreement Language

And now here’s a strongly word letter sent on April 25 by Dougherty to Burton. In both this and another letter, lawyers for Airlines for America suggest they might take legal action against the city if the airport commissioners approve the proposed “Labor Harmony” section changes.

Second Airlines for America Letter to Sean Burton, Airport Commission President

Jeff Millman, a spokesman for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, said this in an email:

“Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has adopted the Certified Service Provider Program (CSPP), one of the strongest programs of its kind in the country, to ensure that airlines that fly into LAX, workers who work at LAX, and, most importantly, passengers who fly to and through LAX have the safest and best experience possible.  LAWA is currently considering amendments to further strengthen the CSPP.  LAWA shared these draft amendments with its airline partners and invited their feedback.  The airlines responded in writing last week, including with additional comments on Friday, and LAWA staff will consider their feedback carefully before making any recommendation to its governing board.”

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Photos: James Cromwell, in a shipping crate, at LAX. But why?

Actor James Cromwell protests at Los Angeles International Airport. Staff Photo by Thomas Cordova.

Actor James Cromwell protests at Los Angeles International Airport. Staff Photo by Thomas Cordova.

Sadly, I could not make it today to watch actor James Cromwell insert himself into a wooden crate at Los Angeles International Airport to produce Air France’s practice of accepting monkeys as cargo. PETA claims Air France is the only major international airline to transport monkeys in the cargo hold.

Luckily, staff photographer Thomas Cordova was there. I’m posted a few of his shots here. For the full 30-photo gallery, check out our main website. 

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TSA opens Precheck enrollment center at LAX Terminal 6

TSA is opening another Precheck enrollment center at LAX.  Photo: Creative Commons, via Hawaiian Airlines.

TSA is opening another Precheck enrollment center at LAX. Photo: Creative Commons, via Hawaiian Airlines.

The TSA has opened a Precheck enrollment center in the lower level baggage claim area in Terminal 6 at Los Angeles International Airport, the agency said this week.

The center is the first at LAX that is not inside security, so you can access it even if you do not have a flight that day. There’s another enrollment center in Delta’s Terminal 5, just beyond the TSA security checkpoint.

The Terminal 6 application facility is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The TSA recommends that prospective enrollees make an appointment and fill out out a form at the TSA’s website.

Precheck costs $85 and lasts for five years. The TSA does a background check on you and takes your fingerprints. If you pass their test — no one knows exactly what the rules are — you’ll get expedited security screening. That means you won’t need to take off your shoes or take your liquid out of your bag. You also won’t need to take your laptop out of your bag.

Precheck lines are generally shorter and move faster than regular ones. But there has been some grumbling of late that Precheck is no longer as quick as it once was.

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James Cromwell will jump into shipping crate Monday at LAX to protest animals as cargo

PETA is planning another LAX protest on Monday over monkeys. Photo: An airport source.

PETA is planning another LAX protest on Monday over monkeys. Photo: An airport source.

Actor James Cromwell will insert his 6-foot, 7-inch body into a shipping crate on Monday at Los Angeles International Airport to protest Air France’s policy of accepting live animal as cargo.

Air France is among the only major international airlines that ships monkeys as cargo, according to PETA. The animal rights group says Air France shipped more than 5,500 monkeys to the United States last year. In February, PETA organized a similar protest against China Southern. 

“The real horror story is the pain and terror of the monkeys in Air France’s cargo holds beneath the feet of unsuspecting passengers,” Cromwell said in a release. “My friends at PETA and I are telling Air France that cruelty shouldn’t fly and that the airline needs to join the rest of the industry in refusing to deliver primates to their deaths in laboratories.”

The protest will happen at noon Monday at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. You might want to stop by if you’re in the area. It should be scene.

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Chihuahua runs free in LAX terminal, and some are reportedly bitten

Oh, no. There was a Chihuahua on the lose this week at LAX. Photo: Jose Antonio Tovar, via Creative Commons.

Oh, no. There was a Chihuahua on the lose this week at LAX. Photo: Jose Antonio Tovar, via Creative Commons.

A little levity for your Friday. I’m told from two sources that there was an angry Chihuahua on the loose on Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport.

“I heard over the radio there was a Chihuahua running around the CTA and one of our officers attempted to get it on his own,” one Los Angeles World Airports police officer told me in an email. “Now that was hilarious.”

Another tipster — and airport employee — told me: “When a passenger picked it up, it bit the person’s neck.” This tipster told me that the dog attacked “multiple passengers.”

I don’t believe there were any serious injuries.

Also, as you may know, LAX is very proud of its Pets Unstressing Passengers, or “PUP,” program. The airport actually brings in therapy dogs who wander the airport (with handlers) and provide comfort to travelers. This dog was not part of that program, I’m told. So, hey, that’s good.

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