FORT LAUDERDALE-With the upcoming Thanksgiving travel season expected to be the busiest in recent memory, many subcontracted airport workers at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport will walk off the job tonight as part of the first-ever nationwide airport workers strike. On the evening of Wednesday, November 18, cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, ramp workers, wheelchair attendants, janitors, and other passenger service workers employed by two airline service contractors, Eulen America and AirServ, will take to the picket line to protest unfair labor practices, unaffordable benefits and low-wages.
WHAT: FLL Airport Workers Join National “Strike 4 Families”
WHERE & WHEN:
Wednesday, November 18-Thursday, November 19
Wednesday, 2:00pm Strike kicks off
Thursday, 6:30am Strike Line & Press Availability with Commissioner Dale Holness, striking workers, and clergy.***Spanish Speakers Available***
Location: Fort Lauderdale Airport, Outside Departure Level, between Terminal 2 & 3. Parking in Palm Garage.
Thursday, 12:30pm Rally in front of Eulen America’s office in Miami with airport workers, Congressional Candidate Annette Taddeo, Cynthia Hernandez of the South FL Central Labor Council, faith leaders, and community supporters.
***Spanish Speaker Available***
Location: Eulen (Miami Headquarters)
7200 NW 19th St, Miami, FL (Rally at entrance on NW 72 Ave & NW 19th St)
VISUALS: Workers in uniform, signs, banners, drumline at rally
Fort Lauderdale — On Thursday November 19, contracted airport workers from major airports that serve 393 million passengers a year are striking for their families.
While airlines across the country have been making record profits, the airport workers who make these profits possible are struggling to survive in jobs that pay poverty wages, provide little to no affordable health care, and few paid days off. Various studies have shown that these working conditions can directly affect airport worker’s families and their communities. Like fast food workers, who they have supported during similar national strikes, airport workers have been organizing for the past three years and have committed to do whatever it takes to committed to do whatever it takes to win $15 and union rights. As airport workers have been organizing for better lives, many of the subcontractors they work for have responded with intimidation tactics, unfair labor practices and in some cases the firing of outspoken workers.
To expose the poor treatment that they are forced to endure at our nation’s airports; thousands of airport workers across the country have decided to go on strike.
In Fort Lauderdale, the Broward County Commission recently voted to increase wages for subcontracted airport workers to at least $11.68 an hour, if offered with health benefits. Despite this hard-fought victory, workers are still often only given part-time hours, offered unaffordable health insurance plans, and have few or no paid sick days. Some employees have reported that they are even asked to clock out when the workload is slow.
Attempts to organize to improve wages and working conditions have been met with continued intimidation and retaliation. Workers for JetBlue contractor AirServ, were forced to take off their union pins when delivering a petition protesting that they were never given vacation pay that the employees claim had been promised to them. Eulen America, a contractor for JetBlue, Spirit, Delta, and others, recently paid a $21,000 settlement in a case before the National Labor Relations Board to former FLL employee, Marc Gattereau, who was fired after appearing on television and at a rally protesting low wages. After going on strike this past September to protest unfair labor practices by Eulen, some workers report they were docked a day’s pay. Eulen workers at FLL went on strike this past August to protest unfair labor practices and low pay by the company.
Eulen workers in nearby MIA are also reporting possible labor violations, including reports of workers being interrogated over their organizing activities, as well as being forced to sign mandatory arbitration agreements requiring employees to give up their right to pursue collective legal actions against the company.
At each airport, striking airport workers are taking action against their poor treatment at the hands of airline subcontractors, the last straw after years of poverty wages, few benefits and subpar working conditions.
Ramp workers, baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners, terminal cleaners and passenger service workers are also striking tomorrow in Chicago, Boston, New York City, Newark, and Philadelphia.
Follow the strike at #Strike4Families
With 145,000 members in eleven states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.