SSP America is taking over food and beverage service at the airport under a 20-year contract
In a unanimous vote Thursday, Jan. 26, the Ontario International Airport Authority adopted a worker retention policy as part of a new contract with SSP America, which will manage operations of concessions at the airport.
The vote came exactly one week after workers demanded job protection policies be added to the food and beverage contract.
The airport’s contract with previous vendor Delaware North is coming to an end. Negotiations on a new, 20-year contract with SSP America had left concessions workers wondering about the stability of their jobs.
Within a week of workers rallying at the OIAA meeting on Jan. 19, the airport authority came back with a retention policy that it said recognizes the importance of experienced workers at ONT to keep from disrupting the flow of operations and guaranteeing a 90-day trial period for covered employees.
The policy states “covered service employees” are guaranteed a 90-day transition period after which time the contractor will submit a written evaluation and offer a possible continuation of the job.
Covered service employees are those who were hired by the terminated contractor, in this case Delaware North, for six months or longer and work in services such as gardening, food service, banquet, concessions and waste management.
“We know that significant work has gone into this policy on an expedited timeline,” Juan Munoz, a researcher for UNITE HERE Local 11, said at the meeting Thursday. “We appreciate everyone’s efforts thus far, in particular (ONT) CEO Atif Elkadi voting up this policy is the responsible decision today and it demonstrates that this board recognizes the contributions of concessions workers.”
The new contract between SSP America and OIAA stipulates that SSP America will pay the airport a 12% concession fee for food and beverage and 16% for alcohol sales from its monthly gross receipts. The company will also pay $124.23 per square foot of rent monthly, according to the staff report.
“We are excited about the arrival of SSP America, and appreciate everyone’s efforts in ensuring that employees and the traveling public benefit from this move,” Elkadi said in a statement.