Contracted Eulen Baggage Handlers, Wheelchair Attendants and Cabin Cleaners Who Service American Airlines and Delta Flights
Walk off the Job to Join Four-City Strike
NEW YORK, N.Y. – During the DNC debate in Miami, employees of Eulen America, a contractor for American and Delta at JFK will walk off the job to demand that their employer, Eulen America, address wage theft violations, follow the state’s paid sick leave laws and provide legally required laundry allowances. Eulen workers will strike today in four of the nation’s busiest airports including Miami, JFK, Fort Lauderdale, Reagan National.
WHAT: Eulen Airport Workers Strike
WHO: Eulen baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants will be joined by Senator Kevin Thomas (12:00pm), Councilman Donovan Richards (4:30pm) and 32BJ union members.
WHERE: JFK Airport Terminal 8 Arrivals, Queens, NY 11430
WHEN: Airport workers will start their strike on Thursday, June 27 at 10:00am. They will hold two public events during the day, while they are on strike:
12:00pm: Rally & press conference
4:30pm: Picket line & press conference
BACKGROUND: Eulen America, an airline contractor for American Airlines and Delta, has a long history of mistreatment of their almost exclusively immigrant workforce, including allegations that it retaliated against workers for speaking out. The Spanish-owned contractor has an alarming history of unfair labor practice complaints, allegations of retaliation, unpaid wages and health and safety problems on the job.
In the beginning of March 2019, Eulen illegally told its JFK Airport employees that they must use up all paid sick leave time that they accrued in 2018. “Use it or lose it,” they said. Eulen managers even put up a sign by the punch-out clock to remind workers to use up the time. On Thursday, May 9, workers took to the steps of New York City Hall to announce that they had filed complaints with the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP). New York City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law) gives covered workers the right to use sick leave to care for themselves or a family member and to seek legal and social services assistance or take other safety measures if the employee or a family member may be the victim of any act or threat of domestic violence or unwanted sexual contact, stalking, or human trafficking. The workers complained that Eulen had thwarted this right.
The action in New York came after Eulen was the subject of a Congressional roundtable discussion at Miami International Airport, led by Reps. Donna Shalala and Frederica Wilson, which featured a jarring expose on the inhumane and hazardous working conditions for Miami airport workers. Thenews report in Miami detailed the horrid conditions for airport workers employed by the company and showed that Eulen airport workers endure inhumane, and even dangerous conditions, includingpoorly maintained ramp vehicles, no windshield wipers, roach infested cabin supply trucks, and lack of access to drinking water and little time for meal breaks that could affect their health and safety. OSHA is currently investigating a whistleblower claim against Eulen regarding an employee at Miami International Airport and the National Labor Relations Board last December issued a decision against Eulen finding that it unlawfully fired a worker at the Fort Lauderdale Airport in retaliation for her union activities.
Now, Eulen airport workers in New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Washington, D.C. are striking today to send a message to Eulen and the airlines they serve that poor working conditions, intimidation, harassment, bullying and other anti-worker tactics have no place in our nation’s airports.
A growing list of elected officials at the local, state and federal level have called for American Airlines and Delta to demand that their rogue contractor, Eulen change its practices or hire a new contractor.
Despite intervention from high-level elected officials, Eulen continues to subject its workers to mistreatment and poor working conditions across the country. When the CEO of Eulen America, Xavier Rabell, was asked about conditions at the Miami International Airport, he said, “I am not the right person to ask. I am the CEO.” In its native Spain, Eulen employees are 96% union and the company claims to be good corporate stewards. Yet in the United States, its non-union workforce is regularly subjected to mistreatment and sweatshop-like conditions.
With more than 175,000 members in 11 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.