Contracted workers at Philadelphia International Airport walked off the job late Wednesday night as part of a national effort deemed 'Strike 4 Families' to draw attention to what they call subpar pay and poor treatment, according to the 32BJ Service Employees International Union.
The contracted employees, who include baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners and other service workers employed by McGinn Security, Prospect Airport Services and PrimeFlight, are not members of 32BJ SEIU, which represents about 8,500 laborers in the Philadelphia region.
Several of the contracted workers have claimed they were wrongly terminated after their employers learned they were interested in unionizing.
The union said the employees have spent the last three years attempting to organize.
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The strike began at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and simultaneously took place at airports in five other cities – Chicago, Boston, New York, Newark, New Jersey and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, according to 32BJ SEIU.
The city's minimum wage is $12 per hour – a rate that went into effect at the beginning of this year. It took, however, until July 1 for PHL's subcontractors to be mandated to pay that rate.
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