Swissport ramp agents join Teamsters

After a four-month campaign, ramp agents working for Swissport have voted to become members of Teamsters Local 120, the company said.

The 114 ramp agents, who are responsible for handling baggage, join Swissport aircraft fuelers that are already represented by the union at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Wages, health care, turnover and safety were the main issues workers cited as their reasons for joining Local 120–issues they hope to see improved by negotiating a strong collective bargaining agreement.

Despite the desire to join the union, the organizing committee faced an uphill battle: management hung up an anti-Teamster poster in the break room and held anti-union meetings; furthermore, the restricted nature of the airport tarmac made it difficult for organizers to access the workplace.

The committee adapted and aircraft fuelers played a key role in persuading their coworkers to join. Local 120 obtained a permit to access the airport, and a number of volunteer organizers from US Foods reached out to the ramp agents to tell them what to expect from management after they had filed for an election.

Teamsters Local 120 represents over 11,500 members in the states of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.