Five Queens US reps show support for JFK Eulen airport workers

Aug 2, 2019
In The News

Five Queens Congressmembers denounced American Airlines contractor Eulen America’s treatment of its workers Thursday, following reports of workplace violations by the company, which handles maintenance, baggage handling and other services at Kennedy Airport.

U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks, Hakeem Jeffries and Nydia Velázquez, along with a host of representatives from other boroughs, called for Eulen and employees to settle their differences and work together in good faith.

“Over the last several weeks, we have heard troubling reports of worker mistreatment at JFK Airport. The allegations made by Eulen America employees raise serious concerns,” they wrote in a joint statement.

Eulen supplies American Airlines with workers at JFK Airport and other airports across the country. Employees are not unionized.

“Working men and women are the backbone of our nation, and we will always stand with them for their rights and fair working conditions,” the Congressmembers wrote.

JFK Eulen workers went on strike in June after Eulen allegedly told its JFK Airport employees that they had to use all paid sick leave time accrued in 2018 or lose it, among other labor issues. Workers filed complaints with the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection.

Eulen workers across three other airports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Washington, D.C. also went on strike, citing bad working conditions, including no sick leave, no breaks and intimidation tactics from management, according to a report from the Miami Herald

Eulen sent a statement to the Eagle at the time of the strike, saying that there was no strike occurring, and that the union was misleading the public.

“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,” the statement read.

When asked about the statement, a spokesperson from 32BJ SEIU, who supported the strike effort, claimed that there were dozens of workers on strike at JFK, and that Eulen was being untruthful. The workers, the spokesperson said, returned to work after one day.

This isn’t the first time Queens politicians have set their sights on Eulen. Councilmembers  Francisco Moya, Jimmy Van Bramer and I. Daneek Miller rallied with workers at City Hall in May to protest Eulen working conditions.

“Everyone gets sick. Providing paid sick leave isn’t generous, it’s acknowledging reality and responding humanely. I stand in solidarity with the Eulen America workers at JFK, with @32BJSEIU and for treating people with dignity and decency,” Moya tweeted at the time.