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Airport, Caterer Accused of Age Bias by Restaurant Union

July 30, 1987|MEG SULLIVAN | Times Staff Writer

Former restaurant and catering workers at Burbank Airport on Tuesday accused the airport and its new food-service company, Host International, of illegally discriminating against 15 older workers by refusing to hire them.

The workers, represented by Local 11 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, filed an age-discrimination complaint Friday with the Federal Contract Compliance Administration against the airport. They plan to file a similar complaint this week with the state against Host International.

Charles A. Conine, Host International vice president, said age "was not a consideration at all," and that applicants of all ages were hired.

The union made public a letter by state Assemblyman Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Polanco, citing age-discrimination complaints, protested the transfer of a liquor license from the airport's former food-service company, Greyhound Food Management, to Host International.

The labor dispute began after Greyhound Food Services lost its contract with the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to operate the airport's restaurants and bars and provide food for airliners. Host International required Greyhound workers to apply for their former jobs.

"As far as we can tell, the airport commission is bound by federal anti-discrimination laws and guidelines, including as a contractor," union representative Jennifer A. Skurnik said. "So if Host fails to abide by those guidelines, then that is grounds to terminate the lease."

Of 15 former workers hired by Host International, only four were over 40, Skurnik said. Of 52 former Greyhound workers, 23 were not hired by Host International, according to minutes from a meeting of the airport authority. Of those, 15 are between 40 and 66, the union said.

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