NEWARK, NJ – Traveling on Thanksgiving, one of the busiest days of the year, may be made even more difficult when subcontracted airport workers at Newark Liberty International Airport will walk off the job tonight, November 18, as part of the first-ever nationwide airport workers strike.
The Newark airport workers involved in the strike clean United Airlines planes for contractor PrimeFlight Aviation Services. Tomorrow, ramp workers, baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners, terminal cleaners, and passenger service workers will join the strike in Newark as part of a nationwide action that includes airports in Chicago, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale in the first ever airport workers’ #Strike4Families.
At issue is the workers’ contention that they cannot support their families on what they argue are poverty wages. They are seeking to be paid $15 an hour, benefits, and an end to various, local unfair labor practices and subpar working conditions.
According to a statement from the workers’ union, 32BJ SEIU, “While airlines across the country have been making record profits, the airport workers who make these profits possible are struggling to survive in jobs that pay poverty wages, provide little to no affordable health care, and few paid days off. Many of the subcontractors they work for have committed health and safety violations and many of their demands for better treatment have been met with illegal repression.”
In New Jersey–32BJ SEIU represents 10,000 workers.