Rep. Shevrin Jones plans to help deliver 1,000 face masks to South Florida airport workers thanks to a partnership between Indelible Solutions and Mary’s Kids, Inc.
Jones is highlighting the donation after Eulen America employees complained personal protective equipment (PPE) has not been sufficiently available.
“Eulen America should do their part to provide a safe working environment for workers,” Jones argued.
“Airports are one of the main hubs for the spread of this pandemic and forcing workers to continue operating under these unsafe conditions is wrong.”
A Miami New Times article highlighted issues a Eulen employee union raised.
“There’s a whole national warning for people to work from home and self-quarantine,” said Helene O’Brien of 32BJ SEIU, which represents workers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
“It sounds great, but for folks on the front line at the Miami airport working for a contractor with a long record of bad practices for health and safety, it’s advice that’s hard to take.”
O’Brien said Eulen did provide hand sanitizer and gloves, but those gloves routinely tore. Eulen declined to comment on the complaints.
Joseph Palma, a former Eulen customer service agent, said he also expressed concerns about PPE accessibility.
“I’d been working on the front lines for months, coming into contact with thousands of passengers every day,” Palma said.
“I had to spend the little I earned on buying my own masks and hand sanitizers because Eulen didn’t provide them. A manager even told me they weren’t going to give us masks because we’d just steal them.”
In addition to PPE concerns, Eulen employees have also faced layoffs in recent weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Jones argued the company should work to install additional protections for those remaining on the job.
“This mask donation is not to absolve Eulen America of their responsibility to their employees, but to make sure they step up,” Jones said.
“We must keep our community members safe. I’m proud to have stood with airport workers in the ongoing fight for higher wages, and it is a shame our fight must continue in this way.”
The Department of Labor cited Eulen America in the past due to safety concerns.
An investigation found the company did not offer sufficient water or work breaks to protect employees from exposure to the South Florida sun while on the tarmac. Workers were also exposed to bodily fluids and had to contend with roach infestations.
Eulen agreed to pay $50,000 in fines stemming from those violations.
Jones will appear at Miami International Airport Wednesday for a noon press conference highlighting the PPE donations.