The following is a media release submitted to SOURCE
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has issued citations totaling $74,250 in penalties against a company that provides services for airlines at Logan Airport for violating the state’s wage and hour and earned sick time laws.
Flight Services & Systems Inc. (FSS), an Ohio-based company that provides non-TSA related security, wheelchair assistance, and other services for airlines, and its president Phil Armstrong, received three citations for failing to keep true and accurate records, make timely payment of wages, and for violations of the Earned Sick Time Law.
The AG’s Office began its investigation after receiving several complaints from FSS employees through the Service Employees Industrial Union, Local 32BJ alleging nonpayment of wages and earned sick time violations.
“In Massachusetts, getting paid what you’re owed is a right, not a privilege,” said AG Healey. “I commend these workers for coming forward and hope this action from my office sends a message to employers that we are committed to enforcing wage and hour laws when companies don’t play by the rules.”
“For far too long, FSS has been getting away with stealing wages from the working people who keep our airport clean and safe,” said Roxana Rivera, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU. “Wage theft not only hurts the people who fall victim to this unlawful practice, it hurts local economies by pushing more families below the poverty line and forcing them to rely on public assistance. We applaud Attorney General Maura Healey and her team for holding FSS accountable for their unlawful and immoral behavior, which they couldn’t have done without the help of the brave workers who came forward. The Massachusetts AG has sent a clear message to Boston’s entire business community—follow our local laws and treat working families right, or there will be consequences.”
Investigators found that FSS paid its workers less than the $12 minimum hourly wage as required by Massport for certain airline contractors during the time period covered by the investigation, including paying wheelchair attendants only $11.25 per hour.
FSS contended that the remainder of the wheelchair attendants’ rate was made up by tips, but workers claim they did not receive tips consistently enough to bring their compensation up to the Massport minimum wage.
The AG’s investigation also found that FSS failed to provide employees with required notices about their rights under the Earned Sick Time law, and frequently failed to pay workers in a timely fashion.
In a separate investigation, Massport began auditing FSS in April 2017 and determined that many airline-contracted employees were making less than the Massport minimum wage.
During the course of the AG’s Office investigation, Massport directed FSS to pay $111,000 in restitution to employees.
Under agreements with Massport that allow them to operate at Logan, airline contractors are required to pay a minimum hourly rate known as the Massport minimum wage that is higher than the state minimum wage.
During the time period in question in this case, the Massport minimum wage was $12 per hour, including tips.
As a result of the investigations, Massport eliminated the tipped wage for airport contractors in 2018.
The Massport minimum wage has since gone up to $14 per hour.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Kate Watkins and Investigator Kevin Shanahan of the AG’s Fair Labor Division
Workers who believe their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/wagetheft.
For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.