Hundreds of airport employees walk-out, protest for higher wages

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WASHINGTON -- Airport workers all across the nation are striking and protesting because they want more pay and union rights.

More than 400 contracted airport employees walked out of Dulles and Reagan National to call attention to the fact that they believe it is nearly impossible to make ends meet in one of the most expensive citites in the nation, earning $6.15 an hour.  They are fighting to earn $15 an hour.

The workers are considered contracted, tipped, employees, so legally, the company they work, Huntleigh Corporation, can pay them a rate less than minimum wage, as long as tips cover the difference or more.

However, many of the workers say it is still not enough, the airport union says something has got to give.

“The workers are doing things like wheel chair attendant, baggage handlers, work that is very critical to the airport and they are not being given enough money to sustain themselves, much less sustain their families,” explained Margarita Alonzo, union officer.

Wednesday, dozens of them sat in on a Washington Airports Authority board meeting.

“I would like them to know that we are suffering, and we need them to help us,” expressed one woman who has worked for Huntleigh for years.

The board of directors establishes policy and provides direction to management of both Dulles and Reagan.

After the meeting, board officials told DCW50, they agree, pay and worker treatment need to be at the center of coming conversations.

The Huntleigh Corporation released a statement Wednesday about the strike denying that their workers are underpaid - saying they're quote "in full compliance" with pay regulations.


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