August 3, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Philadelphia, PA – Subcontractor workers at Philadelphia Airport announced July 22 that they would not go on strike during the Democratic National Convention, as American Airlines agreed to begin talks with Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ.
Airline management made the decision after pressure from leading Democratic officials, including Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Mayor Jim Kenney, Rep. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “American Airlines has committed to ensuring that subcontracted workers have a fair process to form their union,” 32BJ 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.” The airport’s baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, and cabin cleaners, who work for subcontractors hired by the airlines, have been trying to organize for four years, seeking a $15 minimum wage and the right to form a union. “We’ve had a lot of victories along the way, but it’s been a long, uphill ride,” said wheelchair attendant Onetha McKnight. “But this gives us hope.” Read more