September 6, 2022

New Airport Workers Report urges MWAA to set standards to end cruel injustices faced by Dulles & Reagan subcontracted workers

Airport worker missed the chance by minutes to see their dying young family member in hospital because could not get off shift early.  

VICPP “Subcontracted, Not Second Class” report, released on Labor Day, details workers’ concerns. 

“Recently, I lost my 26-year-old daughter-in-law to COVID-19.
 She left behind a child who is only four years old. Before she died, my son called me, but I couldn’t get off of work until my shift was over. I finished at 5 A.M. and rushed to see her, but she had passed moments before, at 5:25. I did not get to see her before she died. The saddest part is that I have had to keep working anyway because I need to make money. Even though I work incredibly hard, I still couldn’t afford to pay for all of her funeral costs. It was not my employer but many people in this room (fellow airport workers) who helped me pay.”

DCA, Non-TSA security (translated into English)
Name withheld to protect against retaliation

 – Of the over 5,000 subcontracted service workers at Northern Virginia’s two airports, Dulles and Reagan National, many do not get paid sick days or health insurance from their employers because their employers are not required to provide them. This creates a crisis for the largely Black, Brown, and immigrant workforce performing critical jobs who must choose between taking care of themselves or their children and getting paid.

Just 3.5 days of unpaid sick time is equivalent to a family losing a month’s worth of groceries.

Subcontracted IAD and DCA employees are living in one of the most expensive areas in the nation while making less than the Washington, D.C. minimum wage. Many have lost their lives due to COVID-19 and/or the lack of access to health care.

The Metro Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) can set a
standard to ensure that all airport workers have paid sick
days and employer-provided health insurance.

The Authority has the ability to set such a standard that would allow workers to protect themselves, their families, and airline passengers. VICPP has sent this report and recommendations to MWAA but has yet to receive a response.

Access to paid sick days and health care has long been a priority issue for VICPP.


Consequently, when VICPP learned that subcontracted workers at airports were seeking paid sick days and health care coverage, its leadership wanted to learn more. VICPP believes all workers deserve paid sick days, livable wages, and affordable health care.


Workers around the country are rallying. Inflation, the cost of living, and the impacts of COVID-19 have put an impossible strain on workers in essential jobs.

VICPP and the #GoodAirports religious delegation have/seek to:

  • Shared the report and recommendations with MWAA.
  • Been seeking meetings with the MWAA board members.
  • Educate the broader community about their neighbors’
    working conditions through forums and the media.

CLICK HERE TO Read our report on the state of subcontracted airport workers, and sign the petition to push MWAA to adopt comprehensive policies for the dignity of all IAD and DCA workers.

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(clickable links)

“Subcontracted, Not Second Class” report

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) advocates racial, social, and economic justice in Virginia’s policies and practices through education, prayer, and action. VICPP is a non-partisan coalition of 25,000 members – which includes 750 houses of worship, 1,000 clergy of all faiths and people of goodwill, ten chapters (and growing), many partner and affiliate organizations, most of the judicatory leaders in the state, and activists in every House and Senate district in Virginia, working for a more just and equitable society.


Jase Hatcher
Economic Justice Program Manager
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Ayesha Taylor
Director of Communications
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy