More than 1,500 contract airport workers at Philadelphia International Airport took a giant step away from poverty towards a better future by voting to unanimously ratify their first-ever union contract. The landmark contract, between the airport workers’ union 32BJ SEIU and airline contractors, provides wage raises up to $13.60 an hour, more than double what airport workers made before they began organizing with the union along with other benefits including paid time off. The contract also guarantees a bevy of job protections to provide stability in the workers’ lives and the airport. The Philadelphia International Airport is now among the first group of airports in the nation where an overwhelming majority of its subcontracted workers have unionized.
“Since we started coming together with our union we have doubled our pay and now have job protection and other benefits. Our union contract gives us a voice on the job and helps make our lives and the Philadelphia airport better,” said Timothy Glenn, a 32BJ member and wheelchair agent who has worked at the airport since 2010.
“This is the perfect Philadelphia underdog story. Airport workers refused to be knocked down and counted out,” said Gabe Morgan, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU. “Their victory would not be possible without support from Mayor Kenney, Governor Wolf, City Council, POWER and thousands of allies and passengers who have stood with the hardworking men and women at the airport.”
The airport workers’ victory is part of a growing wave of teachers and other workers taking dramatic action and winning, in spite of the war on working families at both the national and state levels of government. Philadelphia airport workers are part of an emerging movement taking flight at airports across the country. Airport workers are united in 37 airports in the U.S., where nearly 120,000 airport workers have already won raises and 25,000 have won a union with SEIU.