Workers at the Philadelphia international airport voted 461-5 Wednesday to strike during the Democratic National Convention, which the city is hosting from July 25 to 28. Almost 1000 baggage handlers, airline cleaners, wheelchair attendants, and other airport employees will walk off their jobs to demand better pay, more regular scheduling, greater transparency on sick leave policy and disciplinary systems, and, incidentally, the right to unionize. Airport workers are considered to be independent contractors who work for various airlines.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local 32BJ has backed the protesters, seeking the right to represent them. Gabe Morgan, area vice president for SEIU 32BJ, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that worker protests at the airport have been successful before, resulting in the current minimum wage at Philadelphia International: $12 an hour.
The protest comes just a week after the DNC backed Bernie Sanders’ proposal for a $15 an hour minimum wage. “Fifteen dollars an hour is a plank in the DNC,” Morgan said. “It was huge subject of debate during the Democratic Primary, and really what these workers are fighting for is the same thing the DNC is fighting for in the upcoming national election.”
(via Philadelphia Inquirer)