Following the reports of staff agitation in three New York area airports on July 11, Tuesday, seven hundred workers went on strike on July 12. The workers on strike include cleaner, baggage handlers, and customer service agents from three airports in the New York area. Newark Liberty International Airport workers walked off from their duties at 9 p.m. at night on July 11, following a labor dispute with their employer, PrimeFlight, which is subcontractor for many major and minor airlines.

Airport staff on strike

The workers have gone on strike after alleging Unfair Labor Practices. The employees were represented by the 32BJ Service Employees International Union.

A spokeswoman from the union stated that the workers will go on strike at the LaGuardia Airport, as well as John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Apart from these two airports, the staffs of the Philadelphia International Airport may soon go on strike as well. The strike is expected to continue to stay in place for the next three days and for now it is unclear as to how these job actions will affect the passengers and air travels at these mentioned airports. PrimeFlight has yet to respond to the media about the current situation.

What led to the strike?

The workers in employment with PrimeFlight allege that they are sick of threats and intimidation issued by their employer over their efforts to organize. The issue came to the forefront when almost 1,000 skycap and cleaning staff of the LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark airports threatened to go on strike.

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Amity Paye, spokeswomen from the 32BJ, stated that PrimeFlight has been threatening its employees to “change the schedules of those involved in leadership” and are also intimidating them with threats of laying them off. PrimeFlight is a subcontractor for airlines such as JetBlue, United Airlines, and American Airlines.

The 32BJ is assisting the workers from the 3 different airports to come together and form a union. According to the union officials, the workers have been trying their best to negotiate with PrimeFlight over issues such as, scheduling, wages, workloads, seniority, and safety regulations but to not avail. A federal judge at the end had to order PrimeFlight to bargain with its workers on the above-mentioned issues. However, the company walked away from all negotiations later on. According to Paye, the strikes will not go unnoticed, as without the help of the workers, functioning will be chaotic and the company will have a hard time replacing the workers who have gone on strike. Paye says that a new person will have a hard time getting security clearance even if the company manages to find new people for the job.