8 THE QUEENS COURIER • JULY 9, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Airport workers in Queens demand health care
coverage after COVID-19 ravages their ranks
BY TODD MAISEL
Elected offi cials joined members of 32BJ
airport workers at a rally in Queens to
demand that airlines and terminal operators
pay medical benefi ts to their employees,
especially following the COVID-19
outbreak in which workers became sick
and some died.
Some of those present not only
contracted the contagion, but
they also lost family members
aft er they brought the coronavirus
Th e elected offi cials, led by state
Senators Michael Gianaris, John
Liu and Alessandra Biaggi are seeking
passage of the Healthy Terminals
Act (S.6266/A.8142), which would
provide access to quality, aff ordable
insurance for tens of thousands
of airport workers.
“Th e Healthy Terminals
Act will ensure every
worker at New York’s
airports has access to
the quality healthcare
Gianaris told the
more than ever,
we need to pass
the Healthy Terminals Act and I urge
my colleagues to support this legislation.”
Sumintra Ramkissoon, a security agent
at JFK Terminal 5, said
she became sick with
aff ord the hospital,
and was treated at
home by her husband
Stevenson — he also contracted it
“I lost my husband and my best friend
to the coronavirus aft er I contracted it,”
said Ramkissoon, who’s currently on
leave. “As essential workers, we are on the
front lines and can be exposed to all kinds
of illnesses, whether or not there’s a pandemic.
Passing the Healthy Terminals Act
is important to me, not just because I lost
my husband but because healthcare is a
right. We shouldn’t have to be begging for
proper health care.”
Floyd Adonis, a baggage handler, was
laid off from JFK airport and now owes
$10,000 in hospital bills aft er he became
sick and had no coverage. He said he
had to deal with illness himself because
he couldn’t aff ord to have bills pile up.
“Because of the thousands of dollars I
already owe the hospitals, I just do my
best to try to weather it out when I don’t
feel good,” said Adonis, who was hospitalized
three times from February to
April with a heart condition. “I couldn’t
aff ord to buy a medicine they prescribed
to me aft er my fi rst visit, which landed
me in the hospital for four days aft erwards.
We shouldn’t have to avoid getting
the health care we need, just because we
can’t aff ord it.”
Some airport workers may get masks,
gloves and other personal protective gear
(PPE) while on the job, but still many do
not have the most important protection of
all — health care, offi cials said.
According to a voluntary 2019 survey
by 32BJ SEIU, as many as 20 percent
of airport workers could be uninsured.
Many more are underinsured and struggle
with employer-provided health plans
that have unaff ordable premiums, co-pays
and high deductibles.
Passenger service workers like wheelchair
attendants, security, cleaners
and passenger service representatives
— have been lobbying Albany lawmakers
to pass the proposed landmark
Healthy Terminals Act (HTA),
which is sponsored by Biaggi
and Assembly member Alicia
HTA will require employers
at New York airports
to compensate workers,
passenger services workers,
a $4.54 benefi ts supplement
that workers can use to
Photos by Todd Maisel
Sumintra Ramkisson raises her fi st to support
32BJ SEIU airport workers.
Senator Gianaris pledges support to members of SEIU airport workers are
demanding health care benefi ts.
Members of SEIU airport workers are demanding health care benefi ts,
especially after COVID-19 hit their ranks.
With the purchase of glasses,
contact lens e l.
2 Boxes of Lenses Frames & Lenses
PLUS FREE 2ND PAIR
* $200 minimum purchase on first pair of designer
frames. Second pair frame from select group with
Must present prior to purchase. Offer valid at this
location only. Not valid with any other offers, sales,
vision plans or packages.
Offer ends 7/31/20
offers, sales, vision plans or packages. Must present
prior to purchase. Offer valid at this location only.
Offer ends: 7/31/20
brand clear sphericalLenses/*Contact
lens fitting additional. Not valid for Toric lenses. Not valid with
any other offers, sales, vision plans or packages. Must
present prior to purchase. Offer valid at this location only.
Some restrictions apply, see store for details.
Offer ends: 7/31/20
Select frames with clear plastic, single vision lensas
vision plans or packages. Must present prior to purchase.
Offer valid at this location only. Some restrictions apply,
see store for details
Offer ends: 7/31/20