Workers at Reagan National Airport organized a “sleep in” protest to demand higher wages and better benefits Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.
Many of the workers say they cannot afford their rent or the cost of transportation to and from work. Others said they are regularly forced to sleep at the airport without going home in order to balance their shifts. Officials from the 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents airport employees at both Reagan National and Dulles, claim they have hundreds of employees struggling on the wages provided by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), reports The Washington Post.
Roughly 15 employees participated in the “sleep in” at Reagan Tuesday night.
“[Workers] can’t afford rent or transportation to and from work,” and “lack the time to go home between shifts and other jobs,” according to a statement from the 32BJ SEIU to The Washington Post.
The workers participating in the protest ranged from baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants and checkpoint agents. Many of the workers are paid a wage of $6.75 per hour plus tips and deal with more than two hour commutes to the airport. The workers are demanding a hike in wages to $15 per hour, according to NBC Washington.
Some of these workers hold two contracts for different jobs at the airport in order to get by. The group of protesters plan to meet with board members of the MWAA Wednesday to discuss their grievances.
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