Airport Workers Join Commissioner Eileen Higgins At A Protest At Miami International Airport
The fight for better treatment and improved working conditions for employees continued Monday at Miami International Airport. Several employees of Eulen America joined Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins in a protest to demand workplace injury reports be released and that retaliatory efforts by the company stop.
Esteban Barrios has worked at Eulen America, an airport contractor for major airlines like American and Delta, for three-and-a-half years. After he asked for the OSHA 300 log, where workplace injuries are reported, the company refused to give him the documents and, according to Barrios, docked his pay by $1.
“We are not doing anything bad,” said Barrios. “We are just trying to improve our working conditions. That’s it.”
Barrios, along with other employees, are supported by South Florida members of Congress. Last week, a round table discussion was held by U.S. Reps. Donna Shalala and Frederica Wilson in which employees expressed their concerns.
“We have a commitment that if the company does not change, our congresswomen Shalala and Wilson have both suggested that it might be time for a congressional hearing where we bring them in front of Congress,” said Higgins.
Higgins joined Barrios and other airport employees as they marched to the offices of Eulen America in hopes of discussing the release of the workplace injury reports and returning Barrios’ pay to its original amount.
Officials of the airport contractor did not comment or agree to discuss the issue with the commissioner and employees, leaving the protestors disappointed but not surprised.
“I feel that it was disrespectful,” said Barrios. “They treat us like delinquents.”
Other employees besides Barrios spoke Monday about their experiences with the company.
Joseph Palma works in the customs department for Eulen America and says he is constantly reminded by his employer that he is being videotaped and recorded while on the job.
“Most of my coworkers tell me that I need to take care of myself,” said Palma, “for the simple reason, they say, because I joined the union.”
Eulen America declined to comment for this story, but in a statement sent to WLRN last week, the company said the claims of mistreatment are false and pushed by unions to gain support.
According to Commissioner Higgins, the airport contractor is a private company and is completely in control on how it runs its business and treats its workers.
But she added, “There’s many other companies that do this exact same work. We are not receiving these type of complaints and worries from their workers.”