JFK airport workers who refuel planes plan strike in Memorial Day weekend showdown

Workers who refuel the planes at John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens plan to go on strike Friday — providing uncertainty for travel plans during the busy Memorial Day weekend, The Post has learned.

Teamsters Local 553 — representing 300 workers and mechanics who fuel commercial and cargo jets at the airport — said it is at loggerheads with Allied Aviation Services, the private firm that services the planes at the regional airports.

The union said it had continuous contracts for decades, but has been working without a collective bargaining agreement since June 30, 2023.

The union went on strike in 2005 in a dispute over compensation and health care.

We have been without a contract for almost a year, and Allied Aviation has not been negotiating in good faith since they are conditioning any new contract on our forfeiting our right to strike and fight for our members in the future. That is simply a non-starter for us,” said Demos Demopoulos, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 553.

“We will never give up the right to strike and fight for our members, a right granted to us by the National Labor Relations Act, he said.

Allied is the sole fuel service provider at JFK, which means it is the only company that airlines can use to receive, store, test and deliver jet fuel, the union said.

The labor spat is a jurisdictional issue over which national labor agency oversees contract disputes — the National Labor Relations Board or the National Mediation Board.

The union has greater protections and the right to strike under the NLRB — something Allied is contesting, the union said.

This has been a coordinated effort by Allied at airports across the country, to have unions give up on this jurisdiction issue, said the Teamsters’ Demopoulos.

They are trying to get other unions to give up their rights in exchange for a contract. They might have succeeded in some cities, but they failed against us at Newark, and they will fail again here at JFK.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey oversees JFK airport.

Asked about contingency plans in the event of a walkout, PA spokesman Seth Stein said, We will work closely with our airport partners to minimize any disruptions over this busy holiday travel weekend. We have no involvement in negotiations between our contractor and their unionized staff.

Brian Xavier, the general manager for Allied Services at JFK Airport, said he was “not aware” of the union’s planned strike.

“I can’t comment on this,” he said.

During the last strike, Allied used management personnel to refuel planes.