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

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Local

NYPD arrest man after finding body inside plastic…

Police said they found a man stuffed inside a plastic container in a Brooklyn home. Authorities arrested Joshua Simser, 24, in connection to the death

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.