32BJ Airports

Union Advantage Glossary

A group of working people who secure rights and fairness on the job. Union members band together to improve working conditions, wages, benefits, and ultimately, their quality of life.

32BJ is the largest property services union in the country representing more than 175,000 members on the east coast. 32BJ represents 9,000 airport service workers (baggage handlers, security officers, wheelchair agents and terminal and cabin cleaners) at the New York metropolitan airports (JFK, LGA, and EWR). The union secures better wages, meaningful benefits, and gives working people a voice on the job. Visit www.32BJSEIU.org for more information.

Short for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), this entity oversees transportation infrastructure, including airports, tunnels, seaports and bridges. 32BJ successfully advocated for the PANYNJ to raise the minimum wage for airport workers and to create more oversight of bad actors at the airport.

Union members have the right to have a worker leader or union representative present at performance interviews or disciplinary meetings. The worker leader or union representative is there to show solidarity and be an advocate. The company may not punish union members for requesting representation. Please click here to see your contract’s language around this right.

A 32BJ organizer who represents 32BJ union members at their worksites. Commonly referred to as “reps”, their role is to support workers and to uphold and defend the rights guaranteed in union contracts.

A law passed or considered by a national, state or city legislature. Laws passed at the city and state levels can make progress at the airports. For example, we are working to pass the Healthy Terminals Act

A contract is a legal document, negotiated between the union and the employers, that outlines workers’ rights and responsibilities on the job and typically needs to be renewed every few years. At the airports our strategy has been to level the playing field between competing contractors with one contract that guarantees the same standards to all airport workers, regardless of the contractor that hires them. To find your contract, click here.

A series of contract negotiations between the union and management to secure a CBA. During bargaining meetings, the union’s bargaining committee will negotiate for better working conditions. This process solves problems in the workplace and helps workers secure more of what they deserve.

An elected group of union members who are involved in the collective bargaining process for a contract. Union staff, including lawyers and labor leaders, also sit on the committee.

Meetings where representatives from the union, workers, and management convene to discuss issues on the job and work out solutions.


A group of workers that lead labor management meetings. These union members and union staff represent all workers at their job site during meetings with management and they work out day-to-day problems on the job.

Our contract defense team of worker leaders that mobilize in the workplace to create fair contracts for workers.

Union members elect this person to serve as a liaison between workers and management. This leadership position is a great opportunity to get more involved with the union.  your rep if you’re interested in becoming an ACT leader at 212-388-3800.

When workers come together as a unit for a common purpose. Working people are more powerful and strong as a group as opposed to one individual.

This is our strategy to fight for our rights on the job at the airports. This includes our organizing strategy (bringing more people into the union), political strategy to pass laws that help working people and how we negotiate for a fair contract.

Airlines, subcontract service work (baggage handling, wheelchair attending, security, etc.) to privately owned companies, such as Eulen and ABM. 32BJ has organized for a union with these subcontractors for fair union contracts so workers have rights on the job.

A rally, delegation, strike or any group action that draws attention to an issue or event, such as a contract violation.

Under the union contract the longer you’ve worked at a job, the greater your job protections. People who have been at a job longer also have first choice when bidding for shifts and days off.

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