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UNITE HERE Local 11 Urges FAA to Ensure Fair Distribution of American Rescue Plan Act Funds for Airport Concessionaires in Southern California and Arizona

Union wants funds set aside for small concessionaires at 6 airports to benefit small businesses and not large corporations

UNITE HERE Local 11 sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration on October 22, 2021 calling for the agency to ensure that federal pandemic relief funds are distributed appropriately in the six southwestern airports where Local 11 represents concessions workers.

UNITE HERE Local 11 represents airport concessions workers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX), John Wayne Airport (SNA), Ontario International Airport (ONT), Long Beach Airport (LGB), and Tucson Airport (TUS). In total, the union represents more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona.

Local 11’s letter asks FAA Administrator Steve Dickson for federal guidance to ensure that the six airports allot American Rescue Plan Airport Rescue Grant funds designated for small concessionaires in a way that actually benefits such small concessionaires, not large corporations.

The letter highlights Host International, Inc., the largest concessionaire North America. HMS Host is owned by Italian billionaires through a holding company, Edizione, which had a net asset value of $12.5 billion in 2020. Like other large firms, HMS Host has a controlling interest in scores of joint ventures, some of which include Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBEs). Unless the issue is addressed, the inclusion of joint ventures as “eligible small airport concessions” may give large airport concessions access to funds from the $640 million small concessionaire allocation because these joint ventures are in some cases majority owned by large concessionaires. Click for the full text of the letter.

The letter states, “We urge the FAA Office of Airports to provide guidance to airports in our jurisdiction named above ensuring ACDBE firms benefit from this relief by classifying joint ventures that are majority-owned by prime concessionaires as large airport concessions for the purpose of eligibility for ARPA grant funding. In addition, to prevent changes to existing concession leases that could give large concessionaires access to funds meant for small concessionaires, we urge the FAA Office of Airports to provide guidance to Southern California and Arizona airports making clear that ARPA grant funding eligibility is based on the concessionaire entities named on leases with such airports when ARPA was enacted on March 11, 2021.”

UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.


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