Some 1,500 contracted airline workers at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports have been laid off, and their union is now demanding the contracted workers be included in a mass bailout the airlines are requesting.

Skycaps, wheelchair agents, cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, and other contracted workers have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic leading to fewer flights. Now, their union, 32BJ SEIU, is demanding the workers be a part of a worker bailout the airlines industry is lobbying Congress for.

"We're being laid off and we have nothing to fall back on," Luerica Fiffee, a contracted passenger service representative at JFK who was laid off last week, told Gothamist. "I have bills that need to be paid, and regardless of the situation that we're in right now, there are people that still expect you to pay your bills. And if you can't pay them, then that's a big issue because then you'll fall into debt."

The airline industry group Airlines for America is seeking a $60 billion bailout in loans, grants, and tax relief—four times as much as provided after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The bailout would "preserve the 750,000 jobs" employed by airlines and the "10 million jobs supported by the airline industry," according to a statement from the group, whose members include Delta and American Airlines. On Saturday, the group said airlines would be "forced to take draconian measures such as furloughs" without the aid.

But 32BJ SEIU says that bailout leaves out about 30 percent of the workforce—contracted workers at companies like Alstate Maintenance, Aviation SafeGuards, and Pax Assist.

"It's unfair for us because like I said before, if they're going to bailout the airline, why not bail us out as workers?" Fiffee said. "Whatever they have to do, I just pray that they get it done so we'll be able to go back to work whenever this crisis is over."

Union president Kyle Bragg said in a statement: "We cannot just do the same old trick of opening up the bailout spigot to reward wealthy airline corporations while leaving the most vulnerable workers out in the cold."

The union wants Congress to ensure all airline workers under a bailout plan would have health coverage, paid sick and family leave, and layoff protections through wage replacement for airport workers. Senate leaders and the Trump administration are negotiating a sweeping stimulus plan, which would send cash directly to people. Language regarding assistance to the airline industry was among the points that were still being determined.

"These workers earn the least yet risk themselves the most. Many lack healthcare to even care for themselves in the face of this pandemic," Bragg said. "During this global pandemic, these workers have stepped forward to do their jobs. We are demanding the airlines and Congress not forget the most vulnerable workers as they seek a bailout."

Airlines for America did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some 50 elected officials in New York urged assistance for the contracted workers in a letter of support. 32BJ says at least 600 other contracted workers were laid off at Philadelphia International Airport as well.

Fiffee applied for unemployment benefits after getting laid off and is waiting on documents the benefits program has asked her to sign and return, saying her lay-off in recent days was "heartbreaking." She cares for a 16-year-old and three sets of twins ages 4 to 9, and to make matters worse, "there is nowhere hiring right now," she said.

"It's horrible because besides bills and having my family to take care of, I love my job," she said. "It's hard not having a job to wake up to go to in the day-time."