2014 is CASE’s 7th year of improving jobs at Sky Harbor Airport—the largest single source of employment in Central Arizona. This year, in addition to working with the Phoenix City Council and Aviation Department to raise job standards at Sky Harbor, we will help to ensure the recall of 50 long-time service workers who were laid off when the Delaware North Corporation abandoned their food-service concession at the Airport. We will also help dozens of low-wage, largely refugee and immigrant workers at Sky Harbor navigate government bureaucracy by offering citizenship application assistance and help applying for expanded Medicaid and affordable health insurance available through the Affordable Care Act.
In 2009, our grassroots leaders garnered unanimous support from City Council regarding a historic worker retention requirement in the bidding for the $1 billion dollar Sky Harbor Terminal 4 Food Service contract. This requirement protected the jobs of 700 food service workers who are the heart of “America’s Friendliest Airport.” This requirement has been a paradigm shift in the way that City officials make decisions that impact working families. Since then, worker retention language has become common practice when Phoenix changes vendors for other low-wage city services.
In 2013 CASE and our partners pushed the City of Phoenix’s commitment to raising standards for low-wage workers up a notch, when we worked with our allies on the City Council to use a “best value” as opposed to low-bid procurement process for awarding a multi-million dollar custodial contract for Sky Harbor. By including workers’ wages and benefits as key selection criteria in the RFP process, the “best value process” awarded the contract to a company that not only offered wages significantly above those offered by the incumbent, but that also offered paid sick and vacation pay to a group of largely immigrant and refugee custodians who had previously been denied these benefits.