The service building at the Avis Budget Car Rental at the Lafayette Regional Airport has been shut down.
Due to the shutdown, employees are being forced to work under what they describe as harsh work conditions.
Lafayette Regional Airport’s Executive Director Steven Picou says this building has been under a self-imposed shut down because hydrocarbon gas was found underground.
Picou says once the airport was made aware of the gas, Avis was told that before a new contract or lease could be signed, the gas, which he says Avis put underground had to be removed. As, a result the building was shut down.
Diante Logan, a service agent for Avis since May 2013 says this happened months ago, leaving them to work under what they describe as harsh working conditions. “The medical kit is inside of that office so if I want to cut my hand or anything like that, I would have to go to the airport to get a first aid kit because I don’t have access to ours in the office.”
As a result, the United States Department of Labor was made aware of the conditions.
Logan says, “It makes me feel like you don’t care you know I could pass out here because of the heat index it’s hot.” Logan says since the building was shut down they no longer have a place to use the restroom, keep cold water, take breaks and there’s no working phone. “We have to have a place to use the bathroom. We have to have at least a landline back there. I think any job has to have a landline. We don’t have a landline. So, if cell towers were to go out we don’t have a landline to call 911, you can’t.”
Logan says the labor department left a letter stating that issues such as employees being exposed to hazards of heat, not having a heat stroke training class, or portable safe water to drink for employees working in the heat should be addressed. “For a while they would get water coolers they would get ice bags and put bottles of water in there and that lasted for about 2 to 3 weeks.”
The letter also states that the company has until Friday July 24th to investigate and correct the alleged conditions.