MIAMI – Officials at Miami International Airport have been forced to answer tough questions by Miami-Dade commissions regarding safety concerns with elevators and moving walkways.
“What I’m worried about is the safety of the people that ride these elevators and escalators,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Keon Hardemon.
Questions like these are coming after several documented cases of rigged wiring, known as jumpers, disabling safety devices on equipment to keep units operating.
On Tuesday, the union called out the airport contractor Oracle Elevator for the safety concerns, and for suspending employee Luis Colon, who said he was punished after bringing some of the safety concerns to Oracle’s attention.
“These bypassed safety devices are out of sight, they are beneath the elevator, escalators and moving walks, under the surface like land mines,” said Jason Grab with the International Union of Elevator Constructors and Osha Elevator Industry Safety Alliance Committee. “This is one of the busiest airports in the country. Are we going to wait for an innocent person to lose a finger, a toe, a hand? How about a life?”
Oracle’s vice president spoke before a committee of commissioners, calling this a malicious attempt by the union to discredit them, a non-union company, claiming they were not responsible for the safety bypasses.
“This is an attempt to unionize and organize our employees -- the campaign is not about safety,” said Oracle Elevator Florida Region VP Mike West. “We think we have a third party involved in this, putting the jumper on the elevators and escalators.”
Commissioners decided to await the findings from an ongoing investigation by the county’s Office of the Inspector General.
“One guarantees us that everything is fine, the other says we have something to worry about, " Hardemon said. “That’s problematic for me.”