Former Midway Employee May Have Case Against Company
Posted August 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — The emotions of one ex-Midway Airlines employee are flying high. The former ramp agent says Raleigh's largest airline fired him for trying to improve working conditions.
Mike Feig says working conditions on the Midway tarmac were unsafe for employees. He says when he complained to superiors, he was fired. Feig claims faulty equipment and lack of staff compounded problems. But Midway's managers say they would never compromise safety.
Feig says he brought up a safety concern about using a ladder instead of being hoisted into the belly of an airplane. Feig refused to climb into the baggage compartment without a ladder fearing injury.
Feig was fired that day -- March 24th. He took his case to the Department of Labor, claiming that he was discriminated against for bringing up worker safety issues. Three months later, Feig received a letter. In it, a Labor Administrator wrote:
"An investigation has been conducted, and the results have been carefully considered. It has been determined that there is cause to believe that your allegations are true."
Although they won't prosecute the case for him, Labor investigators say Feig's case has merit. Something Midway leaders deny.
Midway President Robert Ferguson claims Feig is a disgruntled employee who was fired for a series of reasons which included fraud, insubordination, and a series of other reasons.
But a group of ramp agents, who asked not to be identified, says working conditions are poor, and they're very overworked and very underpaid. Ferguson admits conditions on his ramp are less than congenial.
Ferguson emphasizes that nobody in the company has ever been fired nor will they be fired for bringing up safety issues
Mike Feig says he will take Midway to court to prove otherwise. "I put my foot down and you fire me," he says. "It's not right."
As a result of Feig's complaints, OSHA investigated Midway. Investigators found seven violations and fined Midway $1,300 dollars. Midway leaders say all of the violations were minor and the problems have been resolved. In fact, Midway's President says he'll be on the tarmac Thursday to announce a raise for all ramp agents.