Airport workers strike over Ebola concerns

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A group of nearly 200 airline employees at New York’s LaGuardia Airport have gone on strike over concerns about potential exposure to Ebola, ABC News reports

The workers, who clean planes at LaGuardia for a company called AirServ, are complaining about work conditions that they say expose them to bodily fluids such as blood and vomit that could possibly transmit the deadly Ebola virus, according to the report. 

U.S. officials said Wednesday that they would begin increased Ebola screenings at five international airports that they said receive 94 percent of passengers from the African nations that are battling the disease. LaGuardia was not one of the facilities that was selected for the new screenings. 

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The union that represents the protesting airline workers, the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, is scheduled to conduct a training session for dealing with exposure to potential infectious bodily fluids while cleaning airplanes. 

"The training will cover current guidance from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA)," the union said in a statement, according to the report. "This includes guidelines for cleaning airplane cabins and lavatories, for cleaning an area with possible Ebola exposure, and for determining which equipment employers are required to supply."

The international airports that are conducting extra Ebola screenings are Washington Dulles, John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty, O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson.

The Ebola checks are part of an effort by the Obama administration to calm fears about the potential spread of the disease among airline passengers following the first domestic diagnosis of the disease. 

The first man diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., Thomas Eric Duncan, died on Wednesday.

Some lawmakers have been pushing for a ban on commercial airline flights between the U.S. and Ebola-stricken nations following Duncan's diagnosis, but administration officials have rejected that move, arguing it would be counterproductive.