DIA guards to vote to unionize, Denver council at odds over labor

February 04, 2013

Denver Post

About 400 security guards at Denver International Airport will vote on whether to unionize, and Denver City Council members are at odds over whether a council discussion may have influenced the organizing effort.

On Monday, the entire council will have a private executive session with Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell, who will explain federal labor laws and city contracts.

Council members are embroiled in a heated controversy over whether a $5 million contract for HSS Inc. to provide 34 DIA security officers was being threatened with denial by a pro-union faction of the council unless the company acquiesced to the union’s demands.

The council’s vote to renew the contract was occurring at the same time the Service Employees International Union was trying to organize the workforce.

Cynthia Fukami, professor at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, said the issue is really a power struggle between management and workers that is also playing out in the council.

“This is a power game,” she said. “You have two council people trying to protect the interest of those who they are representing. They just don’t agree with each other.”