April 7, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Fort Lauderdale, FL – Airline contract workers went on strike at 10 major U.S. airports March 31 to protest low pay and demand better security training. The 24-hour strike, aided by SEIU Local 32BJ, took place at hubs including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and the New York area’s three main airports.
It had been postponed for a week after the ISIS airport bombing in Belgium. At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, about 75 to 100 workers—baggage handlers, wheelchair assistants, and plane cleaners, employed by Eulen America and Rio Cleaning—marched outside a terminal. “I'm out here today for better work conditions and a full-time job,” said cabin cleaner Rose Petit-Homme, 25, the mother of two small boys. She said Eulen recently reduced her work hours from 60 hours every two weeks to 40 hours and didn’t pay her for all the time she worked. “Low-bid contractors like Eulen America and Rio lower standards for both workers and passengers,” said Helene O'Brien, Florida director for SEIU 32BJ. Read more