Threatened airport strike during DNC averted as union enters talks

Airport workers stage brief walkout ahead of planned strike during DNC
Courtesy of 32BJ SEIU

A threatened strike at Philadelphia International Airport for the week of the Democratic National Convention won’t happen after labor organizers reached an agreement with airlines and subcontractors.

Baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners and other workers at Philadelphia International Airport who are employed by subcontractors such as Prospect and Primeflight won’t go on strike as more than 50,000 visitors are expected to descend on the city for the DNC, organizers from 32BJ SEIU announced over the weekend.

“American Airlines has committed to ensuring that subcontracted workers have a fair process to form their union,” 32BJ’s vice president and Pennsylvania director Gabe Morgan said in a statement. “Over the next few days, we will work with American Airlines to reach an agreement where workers’ rights are respected and the airport runs smoothly.”

Gov. Tom Wolf and Mayor Jim Kenney met with union organizers and representatives of American Airlines, which outsources airport work to the subcontractors. The airline and union organizers said they will go into talks, although a specific deal was not announced.

The airport workers earn about $12 an hour, but have demanded $15 an hour and a union.

Kenney said in a statement that the “agreement … will give employees of airline vendors the opportunity to form a union of their choosing.”

“Beginning today and into next week, 32BJ and American will be working togetheron such an agreementand to ensure the smooth operation of the airport as thousands of delegates from around the country convene for the Democratic National Convention,” Kenney said.