Furloughed Charlotte Airport Restaurant Workers May Lose Health Care Benefits

CHARLOTTE, NC – Hundreds of furloughed people working for the company that staffs the Charlotte Douglas Airport restaurants may soon be without health coverage. 

“It hurts. Honestly. It hurts,” said Megan Clark. A server for HMSHost at the airport. 

She got a letter from her employer last week that said her health benefits would end on June 4th. 

“I can get by, but it’s about speaking up for other people and this isn’t okay,” said Clark. 

She says she’s thankful she currently doesn’t have any major medical issues, but without company covered healthcare, her monthly payment could increase tenfold. 

“If I got COBRA, which is what was offered to me, it would be $1200,” said Clark.

The City of Charlotte is considering a relief package that would send funds to HMSHost. .

The union representing the airport restaurant workers says they’d like to see an amendment requiring HMS to continue providing health benefits. 

“Most of the people that have insurance through this company are lifetime workers,” explained Clark.

The battle to keep benefits comes as companies associated with airports struggle to stay afloat. 

American Airlines announced on Wednesday that it’s cutting 30% of its management and support staff. Travel is at an all-time low with 91% fewer passengers going through TSA checkpoints compared to the same time last year. 

According to a new Wallet Hub report, North Carolina has the 8th most unemployment claims in the country.  More than 650,000 North Carolinians are receiving benefits. Thousands more are still waiting. 

“I want to make sure those benefits get into the hands of those people as quickly as possible,” said Governor Roy Cooper during a news conference on Thursday.

As many HMS workers live off unemployment, their healthcare is now in limbo. 

“I’m not going to lie, I am a little scared and it is very different,” said Clark. 

WCCB Charlotte reached out to HMSHost for this story and has not heard back.