NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some workers at John F. Kennedy Airport are on a one-day strike, demanding new contracts that will give them medical benefits and $15 an hour wages.
About 200 cleaning service employees and ramp workers rallied in a picket line at JetBlue’s Terminal 5. The Service Employees International Union said the strike affects JFK and airports in other major cities.
Jose Cruz said his $10.10 hourly wage doesn’t cut it.
“Not only are we cleaning the planes but they want us to look for other terrorist activities,” Cruz said, adding that he can’t live on what he makes. “I have no choice, I don’t have the options to try to bounce around from job to job because then I’d be on the street and what happens then?”
“The little bit of rent that I pay, I pay my bills, after that I have an empty fridge so a little bit more money would be nice,” worker Jose Diaz said.
“Sometimes workers sleep in the airport because they have to move from one shift to another shift,” 32BJ President Hector Figueroa said. “I know workers here who live in shelters because they cannot pay the rent. It’s a shame, because we are in the U.S. in the 21st Century. Let’s give them a hand, let’s support them.”
Those on strike hope the one-day walkoff brings attention to their plight.
Pilots, flight attendants and in-house baggage handlers are not involved in the strike.