FOLLOWING EXPLOSIVE CBS EXPOSE ON HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS AT MIAMI AIRPORT, FL LAWMAKERS DEMAND AIRLINES TAKE ACTION

Media Advisory for April 24, 2019
For more information:

Ana Tinsly, 646-331-4765, amtinsly@seiu32bj.org

Representative Shalala to hold roundtable to investigate reports of broken-down airport vehicles with no brakes, roach infestations, not enough time to adequately clean plane cabins.

Airport workers say they are retaliated against for speaking out against inhumane conditions

WHO: Representatives Donna Shalala (D- 27th District) and Frederica Wilson (D-24th District), Miami Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins (District 5), Miami, New York, and DC airport workers employed by Eulen America, airline contractor for American and Delta airlines, and community supporters.
*Spanish speakers will be available.
WHAT: Roundtable on sweatshop working conditions at MIA, where electeds will call on American Airlines and Delta to take action.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 24th @ 11:00am
WHERE: Terminal D3 Auditorium, 4th Floor  Miami International Airport, 5200 NW 21st St, Miami, FL

(MIAMI, FL) On the heels of a jarring CBS expose on the inhumane and dangerous working conditions for Miami airport workers, Congresswoman Shalala, Commissioner Eileen Higgins, and other electeds will join airport workers in a congressional roundtable on Wednesday, April 24th at the Miami International Airport, where the leaders will demand that American Airlines and Delta take action against hazardous working conditions.

The shocking news report, aired on Sunday on Facing South Florida with Jim Defede, detailed the abusive conditions for airport workers employed by Eulen America—an airline contractor for American and Delta airlines—including broken down vehicles that service planes with no brakes or windshield wipers, roach infested cabin cleaning trucks that carry passenger supplies, and overworked ramp workers who struggle to get bags to passengers on time. When workers have tried to speak out and organize for better conditions, they say Eulen has responded with threats and retaliation.

“I am speaking out because I am tired of being treated like a machine. I am a human being,” said Esteban Barrios, a Eulen America ramp worker for Delta. Barrios claims he was docked a dollar an hour from his pay after asking his supervisors for more information on workplace injuries. “The airlines made $38 billion last year and Eulen is a multi-billion dollar company. We need them to invest in their workers and in their equipment. This is beneficial to both workers and the passengers we serve.”

“Millions of people fly in an out of our nation’s airports every year,” said Congresswoman Shalala. “Airport workers must feel free to speak out so that, together, we can raise standards and address problems. It is imperative that airlines hire responsible contractors that respect laws and ensure their workers and the public are protected.”

The alarming CBS news report detailed the following: 

  • Ramp vehicles and cabin cleaning trucks, which are right out there on the tarmac close to planes, that don’t have working seatbelts, faulty brakes, lack mirrors, broken windshield wipers, broken fuel gages and are leaking fluid.
  • Trucks that transport cabin cleaners and carry passenger supplies that are crawling with roaches, don’t have closing doors, leak water onto the workers when it rains, don’t have seatbelts, and seats that are held together with broken seatbelts and blankets.
  • Cabin cleaners forced to take shortcuts because so little time is given to clean. One cabin cleaner, who wished to remain anonymous, described contact with vomit and blood on passengers’ blankets. When cleaning a toilet, he was told to “wipe it up with a rag” quickly, to make it look clean.
  • Threats and intimation for the workers who speak up. In the report, Commissioner Eileen Higgins said she was intimidated by Eulen management when she visited the airport to observe working conditions for Eulen workers.
  • Eulen workers described inhumane conditions and temperatures on the tarmac in the grueling Miami heat. They described to CBS news, not being given breaks until the end of their shift or access to drinking water. Workers refuted Eulen’s claims that a golf cart travels around distributing water and Gatorade to the workers.
  • Eulen creates an environment of fear and disrespect where managers frequently yell and or ridicule workers.

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With over 175,000 members in 11 states and Washington D.C., 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.