The following statement is attributable to Kyle Bragg, President of 32BJ SEIU
“Today 125,000 contracted airport workers finally got some good news amidst weeks of stress, fear and uncertainty: Congress recognized their vital role in the airline industry and their humanity during the coronavirus crisis and explicitly included $3 billion in the bailout for the contracted workforce. These workers are on the front lines of the COVID19 epidemic, keeping our airports running and cleaning terminals and planes to help reduce the virus’s spread. In the last week, thousands of airport workers have taken action to demand their inclusion in the bailout. Thank you Senators Schumer, Markey, Blumenthal, Booker, Menendez, Whitehouse, Casey, Cardin, Warner and Carper for standing in steadfast solidarity with contracted airport workers who would have been left behind without your perseverance.
“There are many details left to analyze on the airline bailout and many safeguards will be needed to ensure that airline contractors use this funding to help their workers—as it was intended. Airline contractors must do the right thing and use these resources to keep their workforce in tact so that our airports can resume quickly when this crisis is over. And the airlines must immediately halt the layoffs of thousands of contracted airport workers as the bailout is finalized. It would be inhumane for executives to throw contracted workers overboard just as a lifeboat appears in the distance.
“The road ahead remains an incredibly difficult but the way many members of Congress have fought tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable workers is encouraging. The unemployment insurance expansion will help millions of workers at a time when they need it most. The layoff protection for contracted airport workers could be the difference between families going hungry and facing homelessness or holding on safely to survive along with the industry they serve. We applaud Congress for taking a crucial first step in protecting contracted airport workers and ensuring that our airports can continue to operate after this crisis is over. Airport workers still urgently need health care and sick days. We will continue the fight for our brothers and sisters at the airport until they all can work safely, securely and with dignity.”