Newark Airport has been in the New Jersey and national news a lot lately. With a record number of delays and cancellations earlier this year, many flyers and frequent travels have been extremely frustrated and wary to fly. Not only have these issues impacted travelers but also the flight attendants and airline workers managing these trips. On September 27th, almost 200 frustrated flight attendants (175 to be exact) picketed at United Airlines terminals outside of Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal C, joining alongside national protests at airports around the country. Workers are picketing to call attention to how chaotic and unsustainable working conditions have been. Read on for what we know about the Newark Airport protests.
On Tuesday, September 27th, 175 flight attendants protested outside Newark Airport.
This was not an isolated protest. Airline employees at 15 different airports across the country joined together to draw attention to and speak out against scheduling chaos and other work issues they’ve been facing. Other participating airports included Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, and Cleveland, to name a few.
Given recent headlines, it isn’t surprising to see local workers calling out the effects of the myriad issues Newark Airport has faced. This summer, we reported that Newark Airport was experiencing record-breaking flight cancellations and delays, wreaking havoc on summer travel plans. Over 3,400 flights were canceled just in June of this year, per NJ.com, and that was hardly the end of the issues. Newark Airport was even ranked the worst airport for delays for the first half of 2022. While many travelers were fed up for obvious reasons, this also had and has continued to have a huge impact on another group of people: flight attendants and airline workers
Some of the issues the workers are protesting include “staffing at minimum levels for some flights, despite air travel volumes almost at pre-COVID-19 levels, and a shortage of schedulers to deploy crews after a flight cancelation,” per NJ.com.
“We hope with all our picketing events across the country that upper management will notice and sit down and find solutions acceptable to all parties,” Association of Flight Attendants Council 6 president Kim Montgomery, who represents Newark airport workers, said in a statement. Despite United’s attempts to improve scheduling — like by hiring more workers and adding more digital options — Kim added that many flight attendants are often left waiting around for up to 12 hours to get their assignment.
Further, many flights are still operating with skeletal crews that functioned when Covid decreased the number of passengers. But now that travel numbers are close to what they were pre-pandemic, these smaller crews leave the teams understaffed. To make matters worse, protestors are also pointing to a host of catering problems that have made it challenging for the staff to feed passengers.
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Kim Montgomery added that what these protesting flight attendants and workers really want is for United to sit down and come up with viable solutions to these problems — not only for the sake of travelers, who have also been experiencing issues due to these problems, but also for the sake of the workers who rely on smooth travel for their livelihood.