As many as 1,000 contracted union workers at Philadelphia International Airport will be laid off between Thursday and Monday as the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact the airline industry, according to multiple reports.
Workers, represented by 32BJ SEIU reportedly were notified Thursday morning, and union leaders told 6ABC that what was coming would be a “massive layoff.”
Airport employees facing layoff include airplane cabin cleaners, wheelchair aides, line attendants, baggage handlers, and curbside check-in assistants.
Despite the continued spread of COVID-19 across the region, Philadelphia International Airport has remained open.
“(Airport workers) care for our elderly and disabled loved ones, they move our baggage, they clean planes from national and international destinations, and they interact with hundreds of thousands of passengers from around the world,” said Gabe Morgan, 32BJ SEIU vice president for Pennsylvania and Delaware, in a statement to FOX29. “They are the most at risk in the face of this global pandemic, and they are the least who can afford to lose wages and benefits during this time of crisis.”
Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry announced on Monday that it is offering unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits to all full-time and part-time workers in the state who experience loss, including temporary loss, of their job due to COVID-19.
Workers may be eligible for unemployment compensation if their employer temporarily closes or goes out of business, or if their hours are reduced, according to the Department of Labor. They also may be eligible if they need to quarantine or self-isolate, or if their employers instructed them to avoid work due to fear that they could spread the virus.
For full-time employees, unemployment benefits cover 50% of their weekly gross income. Additionally, anyone who was exposed to COVID-19 at their jobs may be eligible for worker’s compensation.
Anyone who needs to file for unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania can visit the department’s website for filing instructions.
Pennsylvania has 185 positive cases of coronavirus and one death as a result of COVID-19 as of Thursday afternoon. Over 1,600 residents of the state have tested negative for the virus.