The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, UNITE HERE Local 74, Communications Workers of America (CWA) Locals 6300 and 6355, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 420, the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) St. Louis Gateway District #8 have joined the movement against St. Louis Lambert Airport privatization today, urging residents and elected leaders to reject the effort.
The labor organizations – together with SEIU, which previously announced its opposition – represent more than 14,000 working people across St. Louis including nearly 550 at Lambert.
“This rigged airport deal only benefits wealthy special interests and the well-connected,” said Lew Moye, president emeritus of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU). “Working families in North City are sick of these empty promises; our neighborhoods need real investment, and airport privatization is not the way to do it.”
Aldermanic President Lewis Reed has moved airport privatization legislation, BB71, through City Hall at lightning speed, with a final vote coming as early as Tuesday at a special session of the Board of Aldermen. A similar privatization effort, financially backed by a dark money organization tied to billionaire Rex Sinquefield and also connected to Reed, is on track for the November ballot. Both would benefit Sinquefield and connected consultants who are set for a $44 million payout should Lambert be privatized.
“Privatization means lower wages and worse benefits when working families are already struggling to make ends meet,” said UNITE HERE Local 74 President Kevin McNatt. UNITE HERE Local 74 represents nearly 450 working people at Lambert and approximately 3,500 workers across the region. “Privatizing Lambert would harm working people across our entire city,” he said.
The unions are urging elected officials to reject privatization schemes both at City Hall and at the ballot box. Should the initiative appear on the ballot in the fall, the coalition of unions will work to mobilize voters against the initiative through digital and other organizing methods in line with CDC COVID-19 guidelines.
“Working people are coming together, across different backgrounds, to oppose this scheme for our city,” said Communications Workers of America Local 6355 President Natashia Pickens. “We’ll see who stands with St. Louis working families and who stands with the billionaires pushing this bad deal.”