How does somebody live here and make $6.15 an hour? Thousands in our area do it, but just barely pull it off. They work at our airports. Now imagine the bills piling up if you were fired.
That’s exactly what happened to Swartha Tujare. The 67-year-old wheelchair attendant at Dulles International Airport was fired in December for attending a rally to raise airport worker wages.
“I am still behind on so many bills,” said Tujare, an Indian immigrant who now lives in Reston, Va.
The National Labor Relations Board just charged Tujare’s employer, Huntleigh USA. The independent, federal agency says Huntleigh fired Tujare for going to a "lawful strike." The NLRB is now asking Huntleigh to pay $8,000 of lost wages back to Tujare.
Since the company took her airport ID badge, she could not get work at another airport contractor for several months. “It was very sad because I don't have money to pay the bills,” said Tujare. “It was hard.”
WUSA9 reached out to Huntleigh for a response, but our message was not returned. If it does not pay, this could go to a hearing. SEIU-- the largest service employees union-- says its confident Tujare will win.