GCA Services Group Employees Unite For Respect And Higher Wages

On Aug. 26 workers at GCA Services Group joined Teamsters Local 117 in Tukwila, Wash. The employees who voted 91-44 in favor of Teamster representation are shuttle drivers, responsible for shuttling rental cars and other vehicles at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The bargaining unit of 160 workers is predominantly made up of Somali immigrants. They united to win respect from management and better wages at GCA, a contractor for Avis Budget Group.

“This victory is an exciting step forward for all workers at the Seattle Airport,” said Local 117 Organizing Director Leonard Smith. “It’s an example of how working together and sticking together truly pays off. By uniting for respect and dignity, the workers are showing other employees at the airport that they can come together and fight to improve their lives.”

The workers began organizing with the Teamsters more than six months ago. They want respect, better wages and benefits for themselves and other non-union workers at the airport who are typically paid minimum wage with no benefits. GCA employees are also seeking more job security and paid sick leave.

“We are pleased to welcome these hardworking and dedicated workers who are so vital to the rental car operations of GCA. We look forward to representing them and helping them win a first contract that sets higher standards for them and other workers at the airport,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 117.

The campaign for Teamster representation at GCA – which included help from organizers at Teamsters Local 174, SEIU and Working Washington – is part of an ongoing coalition effort among local unions and community groups organizing to win better working conditions for employees at the Seattle Airport. The coalition has been working to organize non-union airport workers employed by contractors like GCA and others. In conjunction with other national campaigns to demand higher pay for low-wage workers, the coalition is pushing a ballot initiative in SeaTac, Wash., to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15.

GCA workers along with Local 117 hope that their victory will inspire other non-union workers at the airport to join the ranks of labor organizations fighting to improve the lives of low-wage workers.