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Airplane cleaners at Logan protest over alleged workplace problems

Protesters hand out flyers at Logan Airport Wednesday.Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

A group of airplane cleaners protested what they described as poor working conditions at Logan Airport Wednesday.

More than a dozen ReadyJet workers demonstrated the company’s working conditions at Terminal C. ReadyJet cleans jets for such airlines as JetBlue, Delta and US Airways.

“The pay is unfair the treatment is unfair, everything is unfair,” Jose Candelario, a 20-year-old cleaner from Chelsea, who has worked for the company for a year-and-a-half.

Candelario said management has targeted workers who have tried to unionize, firing some and refusing to give sick time to others. ReadyJet workers are currently non-unionized.

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Edwin Lopez, a 46-year-old from Lynn, feels like he was targeted by the company for raising concerns about health safety. He said he told management that did not have the proper gloves and the proper body suit to clean the lavatories of planes and handle human waste. He filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in October of 2013.

Last June, OSHA, slapped ReadyJet with two citations and a fine of $2,000, after it found that ReadyJet lavatory cleaners were not provided with protective equipment such as gloves and safety goggles to protect themselves from wastewater spilled.

OSHA also found the company did not clean equipment it loaned to employees and employees did not receive effective training for hazardous chemicals, according to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is the largest property services union in the country.

“ReadyJet has one of the most egregious records at Logan,” said Roxana Rivera, director of 32BJ SEIU District 615. “No company should be allowed to cut corners on the backs of the men and women who perform essential services. The airlines shouldn’t look the other way while contractors break the law. The time to act is now.”

That union says ReadyJet has fired nearly one third of its work force – around 70 people -- since January of this year.

Lopez worked for the company for a year-and-a-half before he was laid off on Sept. 17.

Speaking through a translator, Lopez told Metro he was angry and now having financial difficulties.

ReadyJet, through a human resources representative, declined to comment for this story.

 
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