Family of Charlotte airport worker killed on the job demand accountability

Family members of a Charlotte airport worker who died on the job say something has to be done to keep employees safe.

The family of Kendrick Hudson says they want the people in charge to be held accountable. Attorneys for the family call Hudson’s death not only tragic, but also preventable. 

"They need to be held accountable for what’s going on because this feeling…I never intended to bury my son,” said mom Erika Vernon.  

On Tuesday, Hudson’s parents stood inside the Charlotte Douglas International Airport demanding change. 

Hudson was killed in August of 2019 when the tug he was driving hit a piece of luggage on the tarmac. His parents call his death devastating. 

“I lost more than just a son, he was my legs, he was all the things I couldn't do for myself and what American Airlines is doing is saying we know the problem but we're not going to fix it,” said father Leon Hudson.

Airport workers say poor lighting is to blame for Hudson’s death. They say he was killed in terminal E, also known as ‘Death Valley.’ 

Workers say for months prior to Hudson’s death they were asking for something to be done to increase safety in the area.

"We don't know what else it's going to take, but we want this lighting fixed. Kendrick died on August 11 and the lighting has still not been addressed,” said Donielle Prophete, passenger service agent at American Airlines subsidiary Piedmont and Vice President of CWA Local 3645. 

The family wants to see change to protect airport workers across the country.

"We're here to declare justice and this tragedy never should have happened and it shouldn't take this tragedy for the airlines to try to address these dangerous conditions not just here in Charlotte but all over America,” said spokesperson Ben Crump. 

They believe more attention needs to be paid to the safety of the airport as construction continues, not just the aesthetic qualities.

"They're putting so many millions of dollars into the airport to make it look good but they're not doing anything for their employees,” said Vernon. 

Hudson's parents say the day he died he had come in to pick up a shift. He was saving money to travel for his 25 birthday, a trip he never got to take. 

“Send the message to all your airport employees that their lives matter by giving them safe working conditions,” said Crump. 

American Airlines released a statement regarding the lawsuit. It said their condolences are with the family of Mr. Hudson and that the OSHA investigation into the accident is not yet complete and no cause has been determined. 

Just two weeks ago some of the same workers testified in front of a congressional hearing. The hope is that this lawsuit along with lawmakers will help make the changes they want to see for a safer work environment.