WHAT: Hundreds of underpaid cabin cleaners, terminal cleaners and wheelchair attendants employed by JetBlue’s subcontractors Roma, Ultimate and Pax at JFK Airport will walk off the job tonight in protest of illegal intimidation. They initially planned their strike for last Wednesday, but postponed due to the terror attacks on Brussels Airport and the resulting security concerns. Airport workers held vigils last week instead of a strike. Now these airport workers will hold their strike with a large strike rally tomorrow afternoon.
WHO: Airport workers employed by the subcontractors Roma, Ultimate and Pax at JFK Airport will be joined by elected officials, religious leaders, fast food workers and other community supporters.
WHERE: JFK Airport, Terminal 5 (below the entrance to the airtran)
WHEN: Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 12pm
EARLIER MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Smaller picket lines with airport workers will also be open to press on Wednesday 3/30 at 10:30pm and Thursday 3/31 at 6:30am.
WHY: In the past few months employees of JetBlue’s subcontractors Roma, Ultimate and Pax have raised safety and health concerns and filed various complaints about their job conditions. Ultimate cabin cleaners, who are required to search under the seats and seat back pockets for any dangerous items, have reported that because of short staffing and too few staff they have sometimes been told not to complete essential security checks on JetBlue planes in order to save time. Workers from all three companies have also been forced to file health and safety complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Airport workers across the country are concerned that inadequate safety and health standards, along with low wages, high turnover, insufficient or lack of training at our airports not only put workers in danger but also undermine safety and quality of service. Workers at other major hubs in Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, and Washington, D.C., are also striking today over similar unfair labor practices. The strike is taking place amidst record profits for the aviation industry. Last year alone, airlines raked in more than $23 billion in profits while many airport workers continue to live in abject poverty.
Around the country, contracted airport workers are coming together in Airport Workers United, a movement of workers and their allies, raising their voices for $15 and union rights to make our airports safe and secure for passengers, employees and our communities. By sticking together, speaking out for change, and going on strike, these workers have won wage increases in Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale. Today, more than 70,000 workers nationwide have either received wages increases or other improvements, including healthcare, paid sick leave and worker retention policies as a result of the workers’ campaign.