QUEENS, NY, August 1 — Bosses at LaGuardia Airport here are guilty of the murder two weeks ago of a subcontractor worker, Yendi Medina. By creating exhausting working conditions, they caused a deadly accident. Yendi, a 22-year old Dominican immigrant worker, leaves behind a two-year old daughter and a grieving family.
On July 29th around 5 am, Yendi was waiting to clean an airplane parked away from the terminal. After a long night on the graveyard shift she sat down next to the plane on a bag of pillows she was carrying. An aircraft mechanic, himself working a ten-hour night shift, accidentally ran over Yendi with his company pick-up truck. The airlines prefer to have most of their cleaning and repairs done at night since then planes do not have to be taken out of service during the day and they can reap more profits.
This accident reflects the nature of capitalism, that in its quest for maximum profits bosses constantly endanger workers and do not value our lives. Of course, the bosses and their representatives do their best to try to convince us this is not the case. After Yendi’s death, local bosses quickly told workers that it was a “tragedy” and no one was to blame. They spoke out of both sides of their mouth however, scolding the workers for not exercising enough caution when we drive and walk around on the airport ramp. They allowed some workers to attend the funeral but would not stop calling their cell phones telling them to return to work.
These are the same bosses who, a day before the death, yelled at the workers for complaining about mandatory overtime. These are the same bosses who give them a hard time if a plane is delayed, and encourage them to rush. Under capitalism bosses can never hide their number one motive — profit — for long. Communism will fight not only to meet workers needs at home, but also on the job.
Ironically, the company and subcontractor bosses who now are shedding crocodile tears have said nothing about the racist, sexist conditions they forced upon Yendi before she died. Yendi earned $7.15 an hour with no benefits. Most of the subcontractor workers are immigrants and women and perform some of the dirtiest work at the airport (like removing the waste from airplane bathrooms). On top of all this, the subcontractor bosses saw fit to fire one of Yendi’s coworkers two days after her death. They claimed that the worker was “driving in an unsafe manner.” They saw her as an excellent scapegoat.
The only reasonable response to these attacks is to fight back. When a worker was suspended for refusing to work mandatory overtime, other workers rallied to his cause and the bosses allowed him back to work. The bosses know that without workers, the planes, the trains, the machines and the whole society would grind to a halt.
Unfortunately, as long as we live under capitalism each small victory will only be temporary. We can win a worker his job back only to see another killed. The bosses ensure that no worker’s life or livelihood is safe under capitalism. This is why Progressive Labor Party fights for communism. We have a world to win!