Union Says City’s Proposal is Insulting and Says Impasse is Looming
LOS ANGELES, CA – On February 24, the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers’ Association (LAAPOA), which represents the sworn police officers and firefighters of the Los Angeles Airport Police Department assigned to protect and serve Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY), will enter into its third round of contract mediations while all of the City’s other law enforcement agencies including the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Port Police have received their contracts. LAAPOA and the City of Los Angeles still have not reached a tentative agreement for over 500 specially trained police officers who make up the fourth largest law enforcement agency in Los Angeles County.
“Our officers have the same designation as any other Los Angeles police or port officer and yet we are paid less,” said LAAPOA President Marshall McClain. “We are constantly being insulted by the City of Los Angeles who wants us to put our lives on the line and protect each and every passenger that comes through our airports but doesn’t want to compensate us in the same way that every other Los Angeles police officer is compensated. Why are our lives valued less? Our officers aren’t going to accept anything but equal pay for equal work and so unless the City is ready to concede that it has been treating Airport Police Officers like second-class citizens and change that, we’re going to be at an impasse come February 25.”
The most diverse law enforcement agency in the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Airport Police Officers provide safe passage for more than 170,000 passengers who travel through the nation’s second busiest airport on a daily basis as well as for all airport employees. Even though Los Angeles is a city that constantly preaches equality for all—in 2016 the City of Los Angeles continues to send a message that Airport Police, while duly sworn law enforcement officers who have the same hiring standards, same police academy, provide the same services as both the Los Angeles Port Police and Los Angeles Police Officers, are not equal by keeping their compensation and benefits at substandard levels.
The LAXPD has some of the best-trained law enforcement officers who are the first line of defense in any terror related situation at three different airports in two different counties.
McClain added, “All funds to pay for LAXPD officers come from airport fees. None of the money comes from the City’s general fund. Taxes will not go up if Airport Police Officers are paid the same as other City police agencies. The only thing that will go up is the morale of the officers tasked with keeping Los Angeles’ airports safe.”
If Congress can see fit the importance of making sure that TSA screeners receive the same federal benefits as federal law enforcement officers, surely on the local front Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, members of the City Council, the Board of Airport Commissioners and Director Deborah Flint can see the importance in making sure that equal pay for equal work exists for all police officers and that Los Angeles Airport Police Officers receive the same benefit package enjoyed by both L.A. Port Police and Los Angeles Police Officers.
“It shouldn’t take us having to call out the City on how unfairly it treats its Airport Police Officers to get change,” said Vice-President Julius Levy. “I mean this is Los Angeles, we constantly fight for equality for everything and everyone.”
In addition to equal pay and benefits for equal work, LAAPOA says that in the effort to promote greater transparency they want the City’s Inspector General to look into complaints regarding command staff misconduct, per the signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Airport Police and Airport Commissions, which the Chief of Airport Police has blocked all attempts at having happen.