Union alleges retail racial bias

By Doug Newhouse |

The US-based Unite workers union is alleging racial inequality in the AIRMALL US concessions programme at Baltimore Washington Airport.
Unite – which is reported to be assisting the airport’s workers, even though it does not directly represent them – claims that its latest report raises ‘further questions about the true impact of the airport’s concessions programme on economic progress in Baltimore and the surrounding region’. In its own words, it ‘claims’ that its report has found the following: • Racial disparity in job classifications: Surveyed African-American workers disproportionately staffed typically lower income and lower status positions, such as back-of-the-house jobs and fast food jobs, while surveyed white worker disproportionately staffed front-of-the-house restaurant positions such as bartender and server.• A majority African-American workforce: 59% of surveyed BWI food and retail workers were African-American; 83% of surveyed African-American workers lived in Baltimore. • A low percentage of African-American-owned DBEs: Just 7.5% (3 of 40) airport concessions operators are African-American owned ‘disadvantaged businesses.’ [DBE participation in airport businesses is a pre-requisite for vital federal funding of public and state-owned US airports-Ed].AIRMALL US operates and leases 40 F&B and 22 specialty shops – including duty free retailing – under a retail management contract with the Maryland Aviation Administration at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

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