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Airport Workers Announce OSHA Complaints Against Swissport Companies

OSHA investigating injuries, hazmat accidents, broken equipment, warehouse fire amid media reports of broad air travel system failures

Airport workers across six major hubs sounded alarms Wednesday after filing a series of complaints detailing unsafe working conditions and called out their employers for failing the very workers who take on essential work fueling planes, handling cargo, cleaning cabins and more.

During press conferences in Boston, Dallas, Denver, Newark, New York and Washington D.C., airport workers announced that OSHA is investigating some of the global ground handling providers Swissport companies for the reported hazardous working environment, despite various Swissport companies having previous citations by OSHA for unsafe working conditions. They raised demands for improved safety standards and Congressional action to hold airlines and major corporations accountable to make sure airport jobs are good jobs with living wages, vital benefits and safety standards.

OSHA Investigates Dozens of Health, Safety Violations Across Six Cities

Across six cities, Swissport workers serving major airlines including Spirit, United and American Airlines shared the shocking allegations within their complaints – from being seriously injured in forklift accidents due to lack of training, to dealing with hazmat chemical spills – as they called out Swissport companies for unsafe working conditions and the failure to protect the workers that help make air travel possible. These most recent worker complaints only deepen the ongoing crisis in our air travel system driven by major airlines’ refusal to invest in airport workers.

As airport workers lifted signs saying “Swissport: Stop Putting Us At Risk,” they also called on Congress to take steps to fix the air travel crisis by empowering the majority Black, brown and immigrant airport service workforce that helps keep our airports safe, clean and running. Airport service workers across the country have been demanding the inclusion of the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act’s wage and benefit standards as part of the FAA Reauthorization, which in turn would ensure every airport job is a good job that lifts up working families and their communities.

Swissport Named ‘Dirty Dozen’ Employer As Workers Detail Failures

Airport workers’ OSHA complaints add to a long list of alleged violations over the years that have been and are currently being investigated by the regulatory agency. Last month, the National Council of Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) also named Swissport International AG Companies among their 2023 “Dirty Dozen” employers with unsafe work practices, due to its alarming history of health and safety violations.

In D.C., workers at Washington Dulles International Airport spoke of the faulty equipment they’re forced to deal with – including vehicles with broken windshields and faulty brakes – while workers at Denver International recalled their terror when a warehouse fire broke out after a loading truck struck a floor heating machine that the company installed without any protections in place.

Airport workers’ demands for improved safety standards were echoed by local community allies during the press conferences, as they called for a seat at the table for workers. Advocates lifted up the need for a reckoning across a system that’s allowed major airlines to continue to make record profits while leaving passengers and workers to deal with flight cancellations, staffing shortages and broader travel chaos plaguing airports across the country.

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