“The idea here is we want to lessen the chaos that arises when there is a significant transition of concessions vendors at the airport,” said Melissa Mullinax, senior advisor to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Of 6,000 concessions workers at the world’s busiest airport, about 1,400 are represented by the UNITE HERE union, she said.
The worker retention language is already written into recent soliciations for new concessionaires.
“When new vendors are selected there’s no reason that the workers who have passed all the security tests, who have expertise and strong customer service skills, should lose their jobs during that transition period,” Mullinax said.
The airport concessions office would enforce the new measure, she said.
Changeovers in concessions contracts would come after the award of contracts for airport shops in a massive revamp of retail at Hartsfield-Jackson, and after the award of contracts for new restaurants on Concourse E at the Atlanta airport. The airport shop contracts and Concourse E restaurant contracts have not yet gone to the Atlanta City Council for approval.