Hundreds of Denver International Airport janitors to strike Friday

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FILE – In this Wednesday, June 16, 2021 file photo, travelers queue up in long lines to pass through the south security checkpoint at Denver International Airport, in Denver. This summer is already shaping up to be a difficult one for air travelers as airlines are already struggling to keep up with the rising number of passengers. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (KDVR) — Hundreds of Denver International Airport janitors plan to walk off the job Friday after weeks of negotiations for better pay and working conditions failed.

The workers had been negotiating with the contractor they work for, Flagship Facility Services. An agreement was not reached by Thursday night, when the employees’ previous contract expired, according to the Service Employees International Union Local 105.

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“We’re united in this because we all deserve fair pay for our work,” DIA janitor Luis Gonzalez said in a press release. “This isn’t easy for any of us, but we have to stand together to make sure that we’re treated fairly for the essential work that we do. We’ll do whatever it takes to make this a better airport for everyone, because when airport workers are paid wages we can live on, we can create a better experience for passengers.”

Flagship released the following statement on Thursday night:

“We’re disappointed that the union has turned down our final offer for an agreement that would have protected and improved wages and provided very generous fringe benefits for our valued employees. We hope the union will reconsider. In the meantime, we are prepared to serve the public at Denver International Airport to uphold a clean and safe environment and quality service for travelers in the interim.”

Who are the Denver airport janitors who plan to strike?

The SEIU Local 105 said 350 of its members will participate in the strike. A majority of them are people of color and immigrants, the union said.

“Everyone knows that the people who work here keep this place running, every job is essential,” DIA janitor Amer Garsak said in the release. “That’s why they called us heroes for the past 20 months. Until they recognize that by treating us like it, we’re going to have to do what is necessary for our families.”

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In a three-day vote, 99% of the local chapter’s members voted Wednesday in support of the strike, and the union announced Thursday night they would go through with the measure.

The SEIU Local 105 has a rally planned at the Westin Plaza on the southside of the airport on Friday at 12 p.m.

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