DENVER — With negotiations at an impasse, the janitorial staff at the Denver International Airport are set to go on strike outside the main concourse on Friday, demanding what they call "improved wages and working conditions."
Employees at the airport make roughly $17 an hour, a wage they say does not reflect the increased workload and difficulty of the job, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic and worker shortages.
Both parties negotiating the contract, Flagship Facility Services, the employer, and the Service Employers International Union Local 105, have failed to come to an agreement after months of talks. The impasse has led to a 99% approval for the strike among SEIU members in SEIU Local 105. The chapter has 350 members.
"We've been struggling for the last two years ever since Flagship got the contract," said Luis Gonzales, a janitor at the Denver International Airport and SEIU 105 member. "We have larger areas to clean. Now, we are short on people, so we have more, extra work to clean."
Flagship Facility Services said in a statement that the company is "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."
The company and the union declined to disclose what those wages and benefits are, but the union says they are not enough calling the wages "unfair" and saying the workloads "have been worsened by the pandemic."
The strike will start on Friday outside of the main terminal at 12 p.m. Employees say until a deal is reached, no sanitation work will be done.
"Nobody's gonna be cleaning the bathrooms. Nobody's gonna be taking the trash out of the concourse," Gonzales said. "We're not going to work at all into we come to a good conclusion, good benefits and a good salary."
Denver International Airport on Wednesday urging Flagship and Local 105 to “come to an agreement quickly.”
“We believe they can resolve their differences," the statement says. "In the meantime, we are working closely with Flagship to minimize any disruption in service and impacts to DEN and our passengers."