Last updated: 09:30 AM ET, Wed October 19 2016

Virginia Congressman To Shadow Airport Wheelchair Agent

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | October 19, 2016

Virginia Congressman To Shadow Airport Wheelchair Agent

PHOTO: Virginia Rep. Don Beyer (Photo courtesy Congressman Beyer’s Office)

Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va.) is going to work a 90-minute shift on Wednesday at Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C., accompanying contracted wheelchair agents – some of whom earn less than minimum wage and are reliant on tips that are few and far between.

Beyer will walk with the wheelchair agents from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., hoping to draw attention to their role in helping passengers with disabilities at Reagan National.

That is a precursor to Beyer urging the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) to pass a measure during their November board meeting to ensure that contractors pay $15 per hour as soon as possible to contracted service workers who make hourly wages as low as $6 plus the unreliable tip structure.

READ MORE: Political Leaders Rally Behind Airport Workers

Many airports across the country have farmed out jobs to companies who hire contract workers, and there have been numerous protests by these workers and their supporters over the small wages.

Last month, Virginia Delegates Alfonso Lopez and Jennifer Boysko rallied with hundreds of airport workers at DCA as part of the call for MWAA to ensure contractors pay $15 per hour. The group confronted MWAA board members at their headquarters with a letter signed over by more 1,000 contracted wheelchair attendants, skycaps, baggage handlers, checkpoint agents and cabin cleaners.

Contracted service workers were part of a nationwide strike in April to protest alleged unlawful treatment by their employers. They have received support from numerous high-level leaders including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and actor and anti-poverty activist Danny Glover. 

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