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Labor union: Des Moines Airport Authority should put safety first

DES MOINES – Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the Des Moines Airport Authority’s decision to schedule a Board vote for tomorrow on the pending contract with Pro-Tec Fire Services:

“The Des Moines Airport Authority Board is showing a callous disregard for the safety of airport passengers by plowing ahead with this risky, unsafe outsourcing plan. As we detailed in our previous news release, Pro-Tec Fire Services has a troubled history and the Airport Authority’s Request for Proposal included staffing requirements that are insufficient to meet OSHA requirements and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) staffing and interior firefighting safety standards. The staffing level is so minimal that in a crash, Pro-Tec employees will only be able to focus on putting the fire out—not assisting injured passengers.

“At a January 29th meeting with Airport Authority managers some current Airport Firefighters/Medics made a sensible proposal to have the Airport Authority hire the current firefighters/medics as Airport Authority employees. The Airport’s Assistant Executive Director and General Manager, Kevin Foley, stated that the airport is ‘a business and is making a business decision.’ He further claimed that the airport does not have to follow OSHA and NFPA standards.

“The Airport Authority is not a business. It is a public entity with board members nominated by the Mayor of Des Moines and appointed by the Des Moines City Council. Its priority should be safety, period.”

“We ask all members of the public who support a safe airport to show their opposition to this dangerous proposed contract with Pro-Tec. We encourage them to attend the Authority Board meeting on Tuesday at 9 am in the second floor boardroom at the airport terminal.”

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