Airport workers work overtime during record number of trips | Local News

Airport workers work overtime during record number of trips

| Local News | Local News

TAMPA, Fla .– It’s the busiest travel day of the season and airport workers are working overtime to make sure people can get home for the holidays.

There will be a bunch of wheelchairs, I sometimes feel like I’m working alone, and I’m like doubling, tripling, ”said Anthony Sanders, Tampa airport contractor.

Tampa International Airport (TPA) expects 65 to 75,000 passengers to pass through each day during this holiday season, breaking travel records before the pandemic. These are just the thousands of the 110 million people who the AAA says will travel through the United States.

RELATED: Tampa International Airport Reports Record Passengers Amid New Wave of COVID-19

In fact, the airport sees 8-9% more passengers than the average for other airports in the country.

But when you look around you see a lot of employees like Sanders working during the holidays.

Airlines have been hit during the pandemic and as people have resumed travel, airports in general have still not been able to fully reassign staff.

Sanders is a Tampa resident who is engaged by a company outside of TPA to assist elderly and disabled passengers in wheelchairs. He was laid off for three months during the pandemic and with the cost of living in Tampa he was faced with homelessness, living in hotels.

Now that he’s back to work, he’s working overtime for the holidays – six days a week, eight or more hours a day and his pay is $ 6.98 an hour, so he’s counting on tips. .

The Florida minimum wage is $ 10 an hour, so similar to a restaurant worker, tips allow them to meet the legal minimum wage.

“When I got rehired, I mean, it was always like, you know, it wasn’t as busy as it is today. It was always like you wouldn’t know, because I’m relying on my tip money and I wasn’t really – I was probably earning $ 30 a day in tips, and then, you know, we have to point out our tips, ”Sanders explained. “We are not making money. I slept in hotels. It was very hard, very hard. “

Sanders will be working on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years and his birthday on January 2.

We’re very short, we’re understaffed, and we, you know, do our best. I’m doing my best. Every time I’m here I do my best to help people, I go above and beyond for the people here and they do it, they know it, they appreciate you back, ”Sanders said.

He is also part of SEIU 32BJ, a union that campaigns for airport workers to get higher wages and safer working conditions.

If you’re one of the millions of people who fly by plane this holiday season, remember two things: arrive early and workers like Sanders, who rely on tips.

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