Two months after a report alleged that passenger service workers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are not receiving adequate training from contractors employed by the airlines, a Los Angeles City Council committee has called for a report on efforts to improve the quality of service provided by the workers.
The City Council Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee voted Wednesday, September 12th, to request that Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the city agency that operates LAX, report on alternatives to improve the quality of service of airport workers who are employed by companies under contract to the airlines.
Los Angeles World Airports was also requested to report on options to provide adequate wages and benefits to the workers.
The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, which “deals with issues affecting the working poor and [is] an innovator in the fight against working poverty,” released a report titled “Under the Radar: How Airline Outsourcing of Passenger Services Compromises Security and Service Quality at LAX” in July, which claimed that passenger service workers are undertrained, putting public health and safety at risk.
The report surveyed nearly 300 of the approximately 2,500 workers who perform passenger services at LAX, including safety and security tasks such as conducting airplane searches for suspicious items, checking passenger identification, controlling access to secure areas of the airport and the airplanes, and crowd control.
According to the report, less than 20 percent of the workers surveyed received formal training on how to spot fake identifications and about 75 percent of wheelchair attendants reported problems with broken or malfunctioning wheelchairs.
Carolina Briones, the report’s co-author, called the City Council committee’s request for a report on the issues “great news.”
“I think it’s great that LAWA is moving forward with addressing the issues in the report,” Briones said.
A motion presented by City Councilwoman Janice Hahn said the report raised “serious issues” relating to the training of airport personnel in the area of security and also identified inadequate service to passengers with disabilities and the elderly.
The city Board of Airport Commissioners and Los Angeles World Airports staff are already working on alternatives to improve the quality of service provided by the workers, the Hahn motion said. The airlines are committed to improving those conditions, Hahn added.
Briones said the airport department’s report should focus on the process for licensing contractors and efforts to ensure that the licenses are granted to the “most qualified contractors.”
“We’d like to see them talk more about the policy for licensing contractors,” she said.