DENVER — Denver International Airport’s perimeter security employees have been called off a strike following conversations between the employees’ union, the airport, and its contractor, Healthcare Security Services (HSS).
The strike, which was scheduled for Monday, was called amid contract and pay negotiations.
“Based on that very good conversation, I agreed, call off the strike for tomorrow morning, and (will) try to go back to the table and see if we can resolve some of the issues we're having, such as wages,” said Steve Maritas, an organizing director at Law Enforcement Security Officers Security Unions. “I'd rather negotiate at the table and try to resolve something versus taking people on strike.”
Maritas said he spoke with several airport and city officials to move the talks forward and called off the strike after making headway with the airport management. The airport has contracted the perimeter security to HSS. The employees take care of security for the transportation hubs on the perimeter of the airport and the terminals' parking lots.
Negotiators with the union are seeking a $5 increase in pay per hour, though they acknowledged it that may not be possible.
“It's up to HSS Inc. to come through with some type of wage package,” Maritas said. “We want our wages to be competitive on what others are making in the area and also at the airport.”
Representatives for HSS said they will negotiate with the union moving forward.
“While our salary and benefits are competitive, we care deeply about our team members and we have been in negotiations with their union representatives to explore ways to increase their pay and benefits,” an HSS representative said in a statement. “Those discussions are continuing, and we intend to negotiate directly with them rather than through the media. However, if the union chooses to strike, HSS has a contingency plan in place to ensure there will be no interruption in service at DIA.”
DIA has been plagued with hiring shortages over the past several months. The tense negotiations also come just weeks after another strike of sanitation workers was organized by the SEIU. Employee shortages have also forced the closure of two major peripheral parking lots at the airport from a lack of drivers.
“I think right now we're just experiencing what people are experiencing nationwide, and it's — how do we get people to come work for us?” said Alex Renteria, a spokesperson for the airport. “We are working to make sure that we beef up our staffing so our passengers' frustrations are at a minimum.”