BWI Workers Strive for Recognition Following Government Shut-down

Leesha Hardy-Henderson, Writer

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI) Airport workers have had recent feelings of neglect due to the alienation of their union. On January 16th, employees with Menzies Aviation held an outside demonstration in an effort to push management to recognize their union while putting an end to the longest government shutdown in American history. Amid the 28-day government shut down, thousands of American workers are supporting families and have been working with no pay for weeks. These American workers include BWI’s Transportaion Security Administration (TSA) employees. 

According to Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, “[It is] estimated that 172,000 Marylanders—including federal employees and contractors—were affected by the shutdown.” Aircraft refueler, Anthony Robinson also adds, “Understaffing at the airport has led to a ‘caustic’ work environment in which safety is at times compromised”. As a result of the lack of pay, many BWI airport employees have recently been failing to arrive to work. With so little employment, workers are forced to rush in order to complete the job’s daily expectations. However; it is made highly difficult to ensure safety in the active metropolitan area transportation system when conditions are not being accurately assessed. Government shutdown aside, many workers—predominantly minimum wage—are struggling to make ends meet due to low salaries. 

Shannon Sneed (Baltimore City Councilwoman) was among the marchers arguing in favor of a higher minimum wage in Maryland. Not only do BWI employees take issue with appropriate pay, but it is a very well-known problem for Marylanders. As seen at BWI Airport though, low pay appears to have a negative impact on workers, as well as consumers.