Airport Workers and Supporters Applaud Mayor Nutter Executive Order to Expand City’s Minimum Wage

Airport Workers and Supporters Applaud Mayor Nutter Executive Order to Expand City’s Minimum Wage

PHILADELPHIA-In a surprising move, Mayor Michael Nutter today changed course on his administration’s opposition to applying the city’s minimum wage to subcontracted workers. Following Mayor Nutter’s signing of an executive order to expand the minimum wage, workers and supporters are celebrating the Mayor’s change of heart.

“This is great news to hear. I am struggling to get by on $7.25 an hour and a raise would make all the difference in the world. I could afford to pay my bills, I would not go hungry and I would be able to buy my daughter what she needs,” said Nate Smith, a baggage handler with PrimeFlight.

For the past two years, Philadelphia airport workers have been demanding a living wage and a union. In the fall of last year, Councilman Goode responded by putting a question on the primary ballot to expand the city’s 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard to airport and other subcontracted workers whose employers benefit from taxpayer assistance. On May 20, Philadelphia voters will decide whether to make this a permanent change to the city’s charter.

“While the Mayor’s executive order is commendable, it is not a replacement for ballot question #1, which would permanently apply the city’s minimum wage standards to airport workers,” said Gabe Morgan, PA Director and VP of 32BJ SEIU.

A coalition of faith, labor and community groups have come together to support question #1 with an expansive voter outreach effort.

“Mayor Nutter’s executive order is a step in the right direction towards raising wages for thousands of subcontracted airport workers. For the last several months, a broad coalition has knocked on thousands of doors to encourage voters to support question #1 on the May 20 ballot,” said coalition leader Chris Woods, Executive Vice President of 1199c. “We commend Mayor Nutter for adding to our efforts and hope that he will do everything in his power to enforce the minimum wage once the voters have their say.”

Mayor Nutter signed the executive order less than a day after the settlement with Tinicum Township which finally green lighted a $6.4 billion expansion for the Philadelphia International Airport.

In their push for the minimum wage ballot initiative, faith coalition POWER has reminded voters that the expansion is, in part, publicly funded.

“The airport is expanding and the airlines are making record profits. Our hard-earned tax money should not be subsidizing poverty wages,” said Bishop Royster, director of POWER. “With the stroke of a pen and the pull of a lever, Philadelphia voters and Mayor Nutter have an opportunity to fight poverty in our neighborhoods.”


Coalition members include:

32BJ SEIU, AFSCME 1199C, POWER, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania

PA Association of School Nurses and Practitioners, Action United

Working Families Organization, Fight For Philly, AFSCME DC 47, PCAPS, MoveOn

With 145,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 22,000 in Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.


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