As gas prices have started to escalate with the coming of summer, a number of House Republicans have showed up at local gas stations in their districts to pump gas for constituents, as a part of a stunt to advocate for more oil drilling (which would do little to nothing to lower prices overall).
Now, Chattanooga, Tennesse’s WRCB TV reports that one of these stunts cost a hard-working gas station employee a day’s pay. Last week, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) showed up at a Raceway gas station to pump gas for a day. Because the congressman was there working that day, there was only room for one additional employee. Raceway employee Justin Lewis, who works 60 hours a week at two Raceways, was forced to stay home and miss a day’s pay. Lewis told WRCB that he doesn’t make a congressman’s hefty $160,000 salary and that he can’t afford to miss a day’s work:
Justin Lewis normally spends Friday mornings behind the counter at the Raceway on Signal Mountain Road. Last week his schedule changed with a call from his employer. “I was told not to come in because Chuck Fleischmann was going to be working my shift,” said Lewis. […]
“I needed that shift, I don’t make $160,000 a year,” said Lewis, “so missing a shift means a lot to me.” […] “It’s not a Republican issue, it’s not a Democrat issue,” said Lewis, “our economy is suffering, everybody is suffering, work is hard to find, money doesn’t go as far as it used to.”
Watch an interview with Lewis in WCRB’s report:
“He pulls down a lot of money for his position, and in the state that our country is in right now, I don’t think it’s the time for grandstanding,” Lewis told a local paper. “I’d rather him do his job than mine.”
Compared to Fleischmann’s six-figure salary, the Chattanooga Times reports that the average gas station employee in Tennessee’s 3rd District earns about $17,500 a year.