Philadelphia Airport Workers Just Voted To Strike DNC
Above Photo: (Photo: AP/Charlie Neibergall) Democratic presidential candidates stand on stage during the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame Dinner on July 17 in Cedar Rapids. From left, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Hillary Clinton, and Lincoln Chafee.
All the political luminaries, delegates, and journalists attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia may be flying directly into a chaotic mess if employers don’t negotiate with airport workers.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, SEIU 32BJ, the union fighting to represent workers at the Philadelphia International Airport, is demanding the city grant airport employees the right to unionize. They also made requests for clarity on the airport’s paid sick day policy, an end to irregular scheduling, and a fairer disciplinary system.
“The purpose of the DNC is to lift workers out of poverty,” 32BJ area Vice President Gabe Morgan said.
“Fifteen dollars an hour is a plank in the DNC,” he continued. “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.”
The vote to strike passed overwhelmingly by a 461-5 vote, and will apply to roughly 1,000 airport workers who are hired by various subcontractors that the airlines use to conduct daily operations. The striking employees will include baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, airplane cleaners, and others. Should the strike go forward, the lack of available staffing may result in extended flight delays for travelers arriving to and departing from Philadelphia.
Morgan told the Inquirer the strike is unique to airport workers, as other unionized employees already have fair contracts and would not be striking during the convention, which takes place from July 25-28. He added that the union’s past organizing has resulted in multiple victories for workers at Philadelphia International, including a $12/hour minimum wage.
No date has yet been announced for the strike. As of this writing, there has been no indication from the companies subcontracting with the airport that they’re willing to meet workers’ demands. The Philadelphia convention host committee has also not commented on the strike.