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Airport workers say they lacked training and gloves to scrub planes from China


Terrified about the coronavirus outbreak, airline worker Barbara Gomez refused her supervisor's order to scrub the inside of an American Airlines plane when it arrived from China at la International Airport.

Gomez, a cabin attendant for JetStream Ground Services, said she was given no gloves or a mask before being told to assist wipe down the inside of the plane.
"Everybody is anxious about the virus," she said of the incident in late January. "We do not have anything to safeguard us."

With the outbreak claiming quite 3,000 lives round the globe, the chance of being infected is on everybody's mind, especially airline and airport workers like Gomez and her colleagues, who say they need been forced to decide on between their jobs and possibly being exposed to the virus.
Over the weekend, an American Airlines flight from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Milan, Italy, was canceled because the flight crew refused to fly to the region that had recently reported a pestilence of the virus. After the cancellation, American Airlines suspended its two daily flights to Milan from ny and Miami until April 25.

In response to the complaints by Gomez and her colleagues, the la council is anticipated to carry a hearing Wednesday to request a study by LAX and also the Port of la about the steps being taken to safeguard workers against the spread of the virus.
Several JetStream employees took their grievances to the city's Bureau of Contract Administration on Feb. 19, but center spokeswoman said the bureau only has jurisdiction to analyze wage disputes. The Florida company cleans airplanes and handles cargo at 20 of the nation's busiest airports, working for American, Delta, United and Southwest airlines.

A 2017 la ordinance requires all airport employees, including those that work for a contractor at LAX, to undergo 16 hour of emergency response training to show workers the definition and impact of "hazardous materials" and "infectious diseases" among other subjects. Gomez and a number of other of her co-workers said they do not recall undergoing such training.
"We were just being thrown out there without the tools we wanted," said Miguel Covarrubias, who has worked for JetStream for 10 months.

Calls and emails to JetStream weren't returned. In an interview with NPR, JetStream President Marc Desnoyers said his employees are given the right equipment and training to try to to the work.
"Provisions of cleaning solutions, gloves and every one necessary safety equipment, including masks when requested, are closely monitored and replenished when needed," he told NPR. "When a priority is raised by a team member, we work to deal with it immediately, as we did with this employee."

A spokesman for LAX said the airport wasn't responsive to the complaints.
In a statement, American Airlines said: "American Airlines' vendor management team works in close partnership with all of our vendors, including JetStream, to confirm the health and safety of everyone within the airport environment."

Before the outbreak, la was one amongst the nation's top ports of entry for Chinese tourists and business executives, drawing 1.2 million visitors from China in 2018. that every one changed after most of the country's largest carriers suspended flights from China, city and Macau, and also the Trump administration barred entry of most foreign nationals who had recently visited China.
Before the flights from China were halted, Gomez and her co-workers said they were ordered to scrub several inbound American Airlines planes without adequate training or equipment. The workers said they complained to their supervisors who occasionally provided them with gloves but other times urged them to get rid of gloves from the provision kept within the galleys of the planes to be used by flight attendants when preparing and serving food.

"We had to require gloves from the aircraft," said Jeanine Reese, a JetStream employee from Inglewood.
If workers refused to scrub a plane, Reese said, supervisors reprimanded them for being insubordinate.

Gomez said that after she refused to scrub the American Airlines plane in January, she convinced her supervisor to reassign her to a different plane, explaining that she suffered from asthma and bronchitis and would be more at risk of the coronavirus.
"I was the primary one to talk up due to my condition with asthma and bronchitis," she said. "I told my manager 'No.' i used to be very scared."

Reese and other workers who said they might not refuse to scrub several flights from China worried later that they might be infected with the virus.
"We told our managers and one amongst them said, 'Don't even worry about it. That's in China, not in L.A.,'" said Jose Hidalgo, a JetStream employee from Gardena.

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