“I’m with you in this fight,” Booker says
Newark, N.J.— On the way to the Ohio presidential debates, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) addressed an American Airlines subcontractor’s mistreatment of union workers. Booker sat down with cabin cleaners employed by Eulen America, a contractor that has been investigated for complaints of wage theft, discrimination, health and safety issues and paid sick leave violations. Workers have faced retaliation, surveillance and threats at other airports.
“You have no stronger partner in the Senate for fighting against the despicable and pervasive exploitation of subcontracted workers in the airline industry,” U.S. Senator Cory Booker said. “We need more federal oversight of these subcontracting firms, especially bad actors like Eulen, and we need stricter safeguards in place to prevent abuse. And in order to achieve these goals, you need the right to organize.”
“I’m with you in this fight,” Booker added.
The group of workers and 32BJ SEIU Vice President and NJ State Director, Kevin Brown, discussed the right to organize and called on Eulen to follow the law and respect employees.
“The claims made against Eulen are unacceptable wrongdoings that a company can commit. Here in Newark, we respect the rights of working people, companies like American Airline’s subcontractor Eulen need to learn that when you mess with working people, there will be consequences,” said Kevin Brown, Vice President and N.J. State Director of 32BJ SEIU, the largest property service union in the country which represents 14,000 airport workers in New York and New Jersey.
Eulen employees spoke about the realities facing workers and thanked Booker for supporting their efforts to unionize, and authoring federal legislation to crack down on airlines and subcontractors that violate labor laws.
“It’s so amazing to see a presidential candidate stop by to hear what is happening to Eulen workers at Newark Airport. Every day, as they fly from one state to another campaigning, they rely on people like me and my coworkers. We deserve at least basic workplace rights in exchange for the work we do to support passengers every day. Today that support was reciprocated,” said Adassa Douglas, former Eulen cabin cleaner at EWR airport. “We hope this sends a clear message to Eulen that we will continue fighting for our rights to be respected.”
With more than 175,000 members, including 13,000 in New Jersey, 32BJ is the largest property service union in the country.
Senator Booker has been a strong and vocal leader in the U.S. Senate for the rights of airport workers. He was a key partner in successfully pushing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to raise the hourly minimum wage for workers at airports under its jurisdiction to $19/hour by 2023. Booker formally wrote the Port Authority urging them to make such a change and also joined airport workers for a rally in 2018 to advance the cause. He’s also written to nearly a dozen major airline CEOs, including American Airlines, urging them to increase the minimum wage and improve working conditions for subcontracted workers, and he’s authored federal legislation to crack down on airlines that use subcontractors that violate labor laws.