Philly airport workers will rally today for living wages

philadelphia international airport
Airport workers earlier this month invited Mayor Michael Nutter to walk a day in their shoes so he could fully realize their working conditions. (Credit: SEIU 32BJ)

An anticipated 4,000 members of interfaith advocacy coalition POWER, along with city officials including Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite Jr., will gather this afternoon at a North Philadelphia church to fight for living wages for employees of the Philadelphia International Airport.

“Building a City of Opportunity That Works for All” will touch on the need for reforms to education and immigration law in Philadelphia.

The rally will chiefly focus on the plight of airport workers – namely the thousands of baggage handlers, attendants and skycaps employed by city subcontractors.

In an attempt to cut costs, airlines outsource many of these passenger services jobs to low bid contractors that barely pay minimum wage and don’t offer benefits.

US Airways – PHL’s largest carrier – in January announced record profits for 2012.

The airline announced the same month a two-year lease extension with the city of Philadelphia providing for $734 million in new capital investments.

But many of the subcontracted employees say they aren’t sharing in the wealth.

They’re urging that before City Council approves the terms of the lease, members consider their working conditions, which fly in the face of the Philadelphia 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard passed by Council in 2005.

The ordinance spearheaded by Councilman Wilson Goode Jr., which was expanded in February to include companies with five or more employees, compels all city lessees and sub-lessees to pay their workers at least 150 percent of the federal minimum wage.

Still, the city has chosen not to force airport subcontractors to abide by those provisions.

After Council’s unanimous passage of the ordinance’s expansion, Goode Jr. said he was fighting “two battles.”

One was over extending the legislation on paper, requiring wage standards be observed by a larger number of city contractors and subcontractors.

Council achieved that goal when they voted to change the ordinance’s language.

The second battle is shaping up to more closely resemble a war.

That fight centers around whether City Council has the legal authority to require that contracts negotiated by the mayor’s office observe any wage standards, at all.

Former Managing Director’s Office chief of staff Brian Abernathy testified last month that the Nutter administration doesn’t recognize such City Council-passed provisions as binding.

Goode said he believes “eventually, this may be a dispute that ends up in court.”

The rally will kick off at 3 p.m. at Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2001 W. Lehigh Ave.

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP here.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."