Published on Thursday, February 27, 2020

New York airport workers call for coronavirus protection

Workers at the three main New York area airports are demanding more protection from possible coronavirus infection.

Workers at Newark, LaGuardia and New York JFK airports say they have not been trained or given the equipment to protect themselves.

The Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 10,000 workers at the airports, is demanding action.

Its members are employed to clean in terminals and on aircraft, handle baggage and assist people in wheelchairs around the terminals.

"You have cabin cleaners who come into contact with blood, vomit, all types of bodily fluids, and they have no more training today than they did before the outbreak," said Kevin Brown, New Jersey state director of the SEIU.

"We've requested this and we've gotten nowhere."

Airport operator the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it follows all CDC guidelines.

Newark and JFK Airports were designated arrival points for passengers arriving from China, although all foreign nationals who have visited China in the last two weeks may not enter the US at present.

The union says customs officers and TSA screeners are supplied face masks but not airport workers nor are they given any training.

They are 'just left to figure out stuff on our own' says Newark airport worker Yvette Stephens.


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