Over 500 Contracted IAD, DCA and BWI Airport Workers to be Laid off and
Demand Coverage from $60 Billion Airline Industry Bailout
Airline bailout proposal contains NO provisions to protect contracted airport workers
Washington, D.C. – The airlines’ lobbying group, Airlines for America (A4A) has told Congress that they are seeking the bailout to avoid layoffs, but meanwhile thousands of airport workers are being laid off and it could be the tip of the iceberg. While a reduction in hours and layoffs are rapidly increasing, thus far contracted cabin cleaner, skycap, baggage handler, lobby and ramp worker layoffs include over 438 at Washington Dulles International Airport, around 50 at Washington Reagan National Airport and over 78 at Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport.
While the airlines have stated they want to “secure financial assistance from the federal government to protect and preserve the 750,000 jobs of hardworking men and women who are directly employed by U.S. airlines, as well the 10 million jobs supported by the airline industry,” they have allowed thousands of contracted airline workers—baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants, and more—to lose their jobs with no compensation.
The bailout proposal from the airlines contains no provisions to protect these most vulnerable contracted workers who have been on the front lines of this crisis for weeks. As the airlines continue to lobby Congress to secure their bailout, thousands of low-wage workers, mostly men and women of color, are being thrown out on the street.
“It’s not just corporations that need support, it’s contracted workers who are actually the ones on the front lines and lack both health and financial protections,” said Jaime Contreras, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU. “There’s no reason basic protections for contracted airport workers shouldn’t be included and we are going to keep pushing for that.
“32BJ SEIU contracted are on the frontlines of the day-to-day airport operations at Dulles Airport. They care for our elderly and disabled loved ones, they move our baggage, they clean planes from national and international destinations, and they interact with hundreds of thousands of passengers from around the world. They are the most at risk in the face of this global pandemic, and they are the least who can afford to lose wages and benefits during this time of crisis.
“In this unprecedented time, Congress should do all it can to protect the economic health of the nation, but it is critical that contracted airport workers who come into close contact with millions of passengers every day have full access to emergency relief like layoff protection, paid sick leave, and affordable health care.
“Right now the airlines are asking the government for a $60 billion bailout, while contracted airport workers are given nothing. They live paycheck to paycheck and many lack healthcare to even care for themselves in the face of this pandemic.”
With more than 175,000 members in 11 states, including over 20,000 in D.C. region and Baltimore, MD, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country