Talk about adding injury to insult.
PrimeFlight, a contractor that provides wheelchairs and other services to airlines, is laying off more than 300 workers in Texas, the San Antonio Express News reports. The timing is especially notable, given the company is under investigation by the Labor Department for allegedly telling workers that they must earn enough tip income to bring their hourly wages up to the federal minimum wage.
If unable to do so, workers were allegedly pressured to say that they had earned said tips anyway.
The latest wave of layoffs -- 64 at San Antonio International Airport -- comes as PrimeFlight lost its contract with Delta Airlines. The company announced last month that it also lost its contract with United Airlines and would be closing most of its operations at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, subsequently laying off 276 workers there, according to the Houston Chronicle.
PrimeFlight isn't the only air services company allegedly taking part in a strange pay structure. Ryanair, a European budget airline, offered workers at an air services company a bonus to spot oversized bags and charge customers to check them in, according to the Daily Mail.
The airline industry is well known for its labor disputes, in part because many categories of airline workers are unionized. But PrimeFlight's employees as well as workers at AirServe, the company slated to take over PrimeFlight's contract in Houston, aren’t organized.
American Airlines, which is currently embroiled in bankruptcy, planned to ask a judge to throw out its contracts with labor unions if they reach a cost-cutting deal.
Air Canada pilots, for their part, staged an "illegal job action" earlier this month when they called in sick and caused the cancellation of about 75 flights. The plan came after the Canadian government banned strikes or lockouts at the airline in an aim to protect the economy.