As many as 100 workers who clean the cabins of Delta Air Lines planes at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are “at risk” of losing their jobs because the airline is about to switch contractors, a state agency said Tuesday.
Delta, the airport’s dominant carrier, said it didn’t expect job losses as a result of the move.
The airline notified the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development in February that its own subsidiary, DAL Global Services, or DGS, will no longer be in charge of tidying up the passenger space. That contract was awarded to Air Serv Corp. of Atlanta and takes effect next week.
Air Serv already provides wheelchair, cart-driving and skycap services at the Twin Cities airport for Delta.
The move affects 400 or so full-time workers, said Madeline Koch, a spokeswoman for the state agency. About 100 will remain with DGS but work elsewhere in the country, roughly 200 will move over to Air Serv in the Twin Cities and that “leaves about 100 who appear at risk of being laid off,” Koch said.
Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant said 100 DGS workers were moving and the rest would go to work for Air Serv at the airport. Air Serv will hire new workers to replace those who are leaving town, he said.
Told about the mismatch with the state’s account of the situation, Durrant said, “It sounds like there is a group of individuals who have voluntarily chosen to neither stay on with DGS at another location nor continue on with Air Serv. So it’s probably that group they’re speaking about, but there’s no involuntary loss of job.”
Koch said the state employment agency has led information sessions for workers “looking to transition into new employment.” Air Serv hosted a job fair for DGS cabin cleaners in mid-February at a hotel near the airport.
Durrant didn’t know the specifics of why Delta is turning to Air Serv, but he added that companies make these types of decisions “not only from a cost perspective, but the quality of the product.”
Many of the DGS workers who will remain at MSP with Air Serv will see a pay increase, according to a letter from Air Serv executive W. Don Stephens to Metropolitan Airports Commission Chairman Dan Bolvin.
The new Air Serv workers “will also have access to a 401(k) plan and complimentary uniforms, which they did not have as DGS employees,” Durrant said.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482