Service workers from Denver International Airport rallied at the Prospect Airport Services office Tuesday morning to demand the company continue providing affordable transportation for its employees.
The majority of service employers at DIA provide employees with the EcoPass, an annual employer-sponsored RTD pass that gives unlimited access to bus and train services, including to and from the airport.
However, the private contracting company Prospect, which employs many of the airport’s service workers, announced it will no longer provide EcoPasses for its employees.
“The RTD is the only way most of us can get to work affordably,” said Berhanu Ayele, who has worked as a passenger services agent at DIA for two years.
“Prospect needs to listen to the real needs of their employees and reinstate the EcoPass, so we can continue providing quality customer service for those that need it the most at the airport.”
At 10:30 a.m., baggage handlers, passenger services agents and other service workers from DIA gathered to try to bring attention to this issue.
Most of the DIA workers employed through Prospect make little more than minimum wage and cannot afford to pay for daily transportation to the airport, organizers said. These workers also provide essential services for the airport.
Mengistu Sewore works as a passenger services agent at DIA and her main responsibility is guiding passengers throughout the airport who are elderly or have disabilities.
“Without an EcoPass I don’t know how I’m going to get to work every day and still afford rent,” Sewore said. “Prospect should do the right thing like most other employers at (DIA) and make sure their employees have the means to continue doing our important work.”
Last month, the Denver City Council unanimously voted against amending a lease agreement for Prospect at DIA until the company addresses the EcoPass issue.
“It’s difficult to attract workers to get to the airport, with the expense of the transportation, with the barriers to get to the airport,” Councilwoman Robin Kniech said at the meeting.
“These are folks who cannot afford to necessarily absorb this cost. This is a concern both in terms of workers and their ability to make their ends meet, which is always a concern for our city. But it’s also a concern because it increases turnover.”
Prospect has not yet responded to the rally.