Tags: laguardia | strike | ebola | airplane | cabin | cleaners

LaGuardia Strike: Airplane Cabin Cleaners Concerned About Ebola

Image: LaGuardia Strike: Airplane Cabin Cleaners Concerned About Ebola
Workers with the union 32BJ, many of them airline cabin cleaners, terminal cleaners and wheelchair attendants, participate in a class on how to better protect themselves from infectious diseases in the wake of increased concerns around the Ebola virus on October 9, 2014 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 04:39 PM

LaGuardia Airport workers who clean airplane cabins went on strike Wednesday and Thursday over concerns they may be exposed to Ebola and other hazards.

The airplane-cabin cleaners work for a Delta Air Lines contractor Air Serv; 35 walked off the job Wednesday, followed by another 40 on Thursday, Elaine Kim, a spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union, told Bloomberg News. As many as 200 workers may eventually strike.

The workers are not SEIU employees yet, but have voted to join the union, Bloomberg said, and are working toward labor negotiations with Air Serv, a division of ABM Industries Inc.

“The workers are really worried because they tend to be exposed to bodily fluids,” Amity Paye, another union spokeswoman, told the news agency.

Kim told Bloomberg that the employees’ complaints also include other unsafe working conditions, such as gloves that easily tear and freezing or hot temperatures. Because of those other concerns, plans were already in place for the strike to occur, she said.

Delta Air Lines told Bloomberg that flights have not been delayed, and a spokesperson said other contractors have replaced those on strike.

The workers filed an OSHA complaint about several problems, including decreased times to clean planes and gloves that aren’t thick enough to stop infection.

On its blog, SEIU announced that it would hold an infectious disease training Thursday to educate airport workers to identify and protect against exposure and spread of diseases at airports.

The U.S. announced this week that passengers arriving to five airports in the country from Africa would be checked for Ebola symptoms, including having their temperatures taken.

Ebola has killed more than 3,800 people in West Africa, and the outbreak is continuing. Three countries, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, are asking the World Bank for help.

"What we're paying for now is our failure to have invested in those countries before," said Francisco Ferreira, the World Bank's chief economist for Africa, who cited minimal health facilities even before Ebola became an issue.

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LaGuardia Airport workers who clean airplane cabins went on strike Wednesday and Thursday over concerns they may be exposed to Ebola and other hazards.
laguardia, strike, ebola, airplane, cabin, cleaners
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2014-39-09
Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 04:39 PM
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