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Florida airport workers file complaints over conditions

May 10, 2013 at 3:57 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 10 (UPI) -- More than 20 Florida airline industry wheelchair attendants say they have filed complaints that employers haven't trained them to assist disabled passengers.

Speaking at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a complainant, Celius Joseph, said his job includes getting wheelchair-bound patients to bathrooms, for which he hasn't been trained.

Joseph described an incident in which he cleaned up blood after a passenger gashed his leg while sitting down in an airport-provided wheelchair.

Workers aren't given gloves or sanitizer, Joseph said, so he wiped the blood with a paper towel held in his bare hand, as he has done with vomit and urine.

With help from the Service Employees International Union, workers filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation, saying the airlines and airline service companies who employ them have created unsafe work environments at the airport and violated passengers' rights by not adequately training and equipping wheelchair assistants, The Miami Herald reported Friday.

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