On March 20th, fourty+ Terminal 7 and 4 workers at John. F Kennedy rallied outside Terminal 7 at the airport, demanding SSP to negotiate a fair contract and provide job security.

March 20th marks the day SSP took over concessions management from HMS Host in Terminal 7. Under HMS Host, the workers were able to collectively bargain to ensure benefits like seniority and wage increases. Some workers have worked at Terminal 7 for decades and make $15 an hour. Under SSP these workers and many others don’t know what their wages will be or whether they will be able pay their bills on what SSP plans to pay them. SSP workers in Terminal 4 are getting ready to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.

“All airport workers are fundamental to airport operations as they are the ones who welcome and serve customers from around the country and the world. Our members have dedicated many years of loyal service to airports like JFK. It is time that they are treated with respect and dignity by all companies but especially those who are new to the terminal,” said Jose Maldonado, Secretary Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 100.

It is common in NY and NJ airports to have a revolving door of concessions operators, as their leases with airport management expire. Operators include the likes of HMS Host, SSP, Hudson News, etc. While some operators have a history of labor friendly practices, others are less so. With these changes there is uncertainty and stress for these workers. They, however, still have hope. “I believe that SSP will make the right decision. We work here and are a part of this community. We deserve respect and dignity,” said Mauro Diaz, Bartender, Ssp America, JFK Airport Terminal 4.