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Hundreds go on strike at Phila. airport

Flight operations not disrupted, airline and airport say
File photo: NY airport workers protest for higher wagesReuters/ Sebastien Malo

Over 500 employees of airport contractors went on strike Thursday to protest what they say are low wages and unfair labor practices.

 

An airport spokesperson said there are no disruptions to airport operations.

The wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers and airplane cleaners are non-unionized employees who work for Prospect Aviation Services and PrimeFlight Airline Services companies hired by the airlines.

Victoria Lupica, a spokeswoman for American Airlines said the protest was well planned and there have been no disruptions to the airlines.

Many of the workers earn minimum wage, 7.25 an hour, and complain of tough working conditions.

The plane cleaners in particular say they work with hazardous chemicals and are sometimes worry that they could be exposed to disease.

The wheelchair attendants can be paid less than minimum wage, and they are expected to make up the difference in tips -- though they say many of their patrons are elderly or disabled people who live on fixed incomes and should not be expected to tip.

City voters agreed in May 2014 to force airport contractors to pay $10.88 -- the city’s living wage. Mayor Michael Nutter also issued an executive order mandating the higher wage rate for workers.

The contractors have not raised wage rates because they bid on their contracts based on the lower wages.

 

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