On Front Lines of Coronavirus, Workers at Portland International Airport Demand a Better Deal

The airplane cabin cleaners and passenger service attendants will ask the Port of Portland for paid time off.

On Wednesday, March 11, a group of workers from Portland International Airport will ask the Port of Portland to take into account the risks workers are facing from cleaning airplanes and dealing with airlines' most vulnerable customers amid the spreading coronavirus.

"As our country grapples with the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19, front-line airport workers play an important role to slow or prevent transmission of the illness; they are calling on the Port of Portland to do the right thing for workers and passengers alike by passing an Airport Worker Bill of Rights," Felisa Hagins, the political director for Service Employees International Union Local 49, said in a statement.

"Workers who assist passengers to and from their flights, clean planes, and clean the terminal have very little time off, make low wages, and do not have affordable healthcare at the best airport in America," she added.

The Port Commission oversees PDX, whose gate fees and parking revenues are by far the port's largest source of revenue. SEIU represents nearly 500 people at the airport and will present specific demands at the commission meeting at the Port of Portland, Chinook Room, 7200 NE Airport Way at 9:30 am.

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