About to leave for your next meeting or event? Travelers take note: Workers are on strike at four major U.S. airports protesting working conditions.
Employees of Eulen America, an airline contractor for American Airlines and Delta, are demonstrating at:
According to American Airlines and Delta, there are no flight delays or cancellations due to airport strikes as of June 27, 2019. The strikes arrived ahead of the Fourth of July U.S. holiday.
Eulen America-employed ramp and cargo workers, cabin cleaners and wheelchair attendants are striking to protest abusive and hazardous working conditions.
Issues cited include airport vehicles in dangerous disrepair with faulty brakes and missing seatbelts, inadequate staffing as well as health and safety concerns. Retaliation and threats over organizing for better conditions also prompted the action.
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Additionally, Eulen America airport catering employees are preparing to strike.
“Our JFK and Newark airline catering workers along with workers in 19 other cities have recently authorized a strike to begin if and when the National Mediation Board (NMB) releases us,” said Rachel Gumpert, national press secretary for UNITE HERE which represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada.
“They are governed under the Railway Labor Agreement and must have federal release from mediation we are currently in to legally strike," she added.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker; San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz; and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were scheduled to join employees of Eulen America at Miami International and Fort Lauderdale airports on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
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It has been reported that Senator Booker, who is a Democratic presidential candidate and participated in the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Miami the night before, joined the march at MIA outside Terminal H the morning of June 26.
“I’m here to give you support,” Booker said. “Your work is incredible.
“Your rights are important,” he added in Spanish.
The June 27 strike follows a recent CBS Miami expose and a Congressional roundtable discussion with Reps. Donna Shalala and Frederica Wilson on inhumane working conditions.
In May 2019, Eulen America was in the news after the company took over a wheelchair services contract for Delta Airlines in Fort Lauderdale and failed to hire all the existing workers for their jobs in a timely manner. This resulted in a violation of Broward County’s mandatory Worker Retention policy for contracted airline employees at FLL.
What to Do If You're Traveling to, From, or Through an Airport or on an Airline That Is Involved With a Strike
Check directly with the airline:
If you have travel insurance, contact the provider to see if the insurance covers airline and/or airport stikes. Don’t forget to check the policy of the credit card you used to purchase tickets.
Some offer, or include, travel insurance.
Stikes are included in “extraordinary circumstances” for flights based in and departing from the U.S. This inclusion means that the airlines are not legally obligated to monetarily reimburse for canceled or delayed flights. In most cases, airlines will offer to rebook on the next available flight. If the flight departed from an airport in the European Union (EU), or if the airline is based in the EU, flights effected by airline or airport strikes could be eligible for compensation.
If you are planning to travel on June 27, or this week, especially through one of the airports currently experiencing a protest, make sure you get up-to-date details on strikes at all airports across the U.S. Airport Strike Alert is good resource for this information.
Statement from Eulen America
Eulen America sent this statement to Meetings Today on June 28, 2019:
From Xavier Rabell CEO of Eulen America: Eulen America workers were not and are not on strike in any airport. All services are being provided with no disruption to our clients. The union PR campaign is using non-Eulen workers in their protests locally to create confusion. Our employees are at work, and flight and passenger support operations are not being disrupted.
We do not object at all if our employees wish to unionize. No one needs to mislead the public about our company in order to choose the right to collective bargaining. What we DO object to is inaccurate and unfair characterizations about us and how we treat our team members.
Eulen America wants to reiterate our full commitment to our business partners, our employees and our culture of safety and respect.
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