Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 12:45 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 6, 2023 at 1:44 PM MST
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Workers and city officials gathered at Phoenix Sky Harbor to share heat-related health and safety concerns on Wednesday. Employees, backed by Phoenix Vice Mayor Yassamin Anasari, announced they’ve filed an OSHA complaint against aviation support services provider Prospect Airport Services for allegedly not ensuring basic worker protections amid Phoenix’s record-high temperatures.
Workers met outside Terminal 4, holding signs and photos depicting Arizona’s extreme heat. One man had a photo of a temperature gauge reading 113 degrees. One cabin cleaner said she was recently hospitalized because of the extreme heat. “Over the course of the last few months, I’ve experienced nearly every symptom of heat illness. I’ve suffered from extreme fatigue, weakness, headaches, vomiting, muscle cramps, loss of coordination and nausea,” she said. “Our uniforms only make the heat worse. We often aren’t given access to water to drink on the airplanes while we’re cleaning the cabins. Sometimes I resort to drinking water leftover by passengers.”
Officials say the complaint is to “hold major airlines and their contractors accountable.” Phoenix workers are also demanding that Congress pass the “Good Jobs for Good Airports Act,” which includes higher pay and benefits. Employees shared they are paid $13-$14 an hour. “Our wages and benefits are a slap in the face after coming into the airport day in and day out to make it possible for these airlines to function,” said Cecilia Ortiz, a lead wheelchair assistant at Sky Harbor. “We cannot continue to live like this. We cannot continue to be paid poverty wages without quality employer-paid health care and other benefits like paid time off.”
Prospect Airport Services released a statement to Arizona’s Family regarding the workers’ concerns.