PHILADELPHIA—On Thursday, January 15, the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., hundreds of airport workers, elected officials and supporters will march through the Philadelphia International Airport with a list of demands to address mounting problems for low-wage airport workers. Eight months after Philadelphia voters overwhelmingly supported raising the minimum wage for airport workers to $10.88, most workers have yet to see the wage raise. The march will begin at 11:00am at the F terminal and make its way through the airport to culminate in a rally at the B/C terminal, departure side.
Contracted area airports workers and community supporters
Reverend Ike Miller, Retired, Church of the Advocate
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown
Councilman Curtis Jones
WHAT: Airport Workers March for a Dream Delayed
WHEN: Thursday, January 15, 11:00am
WHERE: March begins at F Terminal (Departures Side) and ends at B/C Terminal (Departures side), Philadelphia International Airport
VISUALS: “I am a man/woman” signs, crowd
MORE: Poor working conditions and low pay are creating a crisis at the airports for workers and passengers alike. The crisis, they say, is caused by low-bid subcontracting by airlines to private contractors who pay poverty wages—significantly less than those directly employed by the airlines and the airport. According to a study by the National Employment Law Project, the average subcontracted PHL airport worker makes just $7.85 an hour.
Dr. King died supporting Memphis sanitation workers who were working under deplorable conditions and making what would be $11.41 per hour today. Forty six years after Dr. King’s death, most airport passenger service workers work under deplorable conditions and earn less than $8 per hour with little or no benefits.
“Dr. King’s dream—our dream—of good jobs and equality for all should be delayed no more,” said Prime Flight baggage handler Nathaniel Smith. Airport workers will also join the 10,000 residents who will take to the streets on Jan. 19 as part of the MLK Day march organized by the D.A.R.E coalition.
With more than 145,000 members, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service union in the country.