The latest issue of In These Times is a special, extra-length issue devoted entirely to the subject of socialism in America today. This special issue is available now. Order your copy today.
Since the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the nation’s first diagnosis of Ebola on September 30, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Academy of Sciences have demanded that airlines begin screening passengers arriving from African countries most affected by the pandemic for the disease. While this might contain the virus, it does so within the confines of each plane — leaving airline workers with increased exposure risks.
Dangers like this led LaGuardia airport workers to go on strike last week, demanding better health and safety protections.
Justin Bachman at Bloomberg Businessweek writes:
As many as 200 workers at New York’s LaGuardia Airport began striking late Wednesday as part of their efforts to gain a contract with Atlanta’s Air Serv, an airport contractor for Delta Air Lines, using the attention Ebola has received as a way to address the nastier aspects of their jobs. The workers, who earn an average of $9 per hour, are seeking more durable gloves, as well as goggles and face masks for certain jobs that involve exposure to urine and feces.
Workers claim they often encounter hypodermic needles, vomit and blood. According to an SEIU spokesperson Amity Paye quoted in the article, “At least once per week an employee is sprayed with lavatory sewage from a plane, a mishap workers dub a ‘baptism.’”
The strike lasted for 24 hours and was part of SEIU Local 32BJ’s efforts to represent the workers. Paye told Bloomberg Businessweek that “This strike is solely over health and safety conditions. … It’s not over Ebola.” Still, with concerns about the disease reaching a fever pitch at airports around the country, it’s hard to imagine Ebola not being on workers’ minds.
Between worries about Ebola and those weekly “baptisms,” it sounds like LaGuardia workers had a variety of allegedly disgusting and dangerous work conditions that could drive them to the picket line.
Celebrate 47 years of In These Times in style! Get your raffle tickets today for your chance to win a vacation for two to Cascais, Portugal!
One lucky raffle winner will receive a $3,000 gift card to cover the costs of two flights, as well as a stay in a 5-star boutique hotel, housed in a 17th century fortress with medieval architecture and décor. You can schedule the trip on your timeline!
All raffle ticket sales support ongoing In These Times reporting, just like the article you just finished reading. Get your raffle tickets now.
The winner will be selected on the night of September 30, at the In These Times 47th Anniversary Celebration. You do not need to be present at the drawing to win.