Some air passenger service agents in Houston are demonstrating against what they call "poverty pay." According to a survey by the Communication Workers of America, Envoy Air pays their agents as little as $9.48 an hour, making them among the lowest paid in the industry.
The survey reports many Envoy agents rely on food stamps or Medicaid to make ends meet. Others resort to more extreme measures, such as skipping meals or selling blood plasma.
Envoy, a subsidiary of Fort Worth-based American Airlines, flies out of Hobby Airport in State Senator Sylvia Garcia's district. "Their passenger service agents do the same work as the people who work directly for American Airlines," says Garcia, "so it makes no sense to me that Envoy agents make about half of what American Airlines workers do."
American recently reported an annual net profit for 2017 of $1.9 million.
Envoy declined an interview request. It released a statement saying the airline is negotiating with the agents' union and hopes to work out terms agreeable to both sides.