About 500 Philadelphia International Airport workers walked off the job Thursday in protest of their wages. Afterward one employer announced that its workers would receive pay increases "in the near future."
Employees from Prospect Airport Services, one of several airport subcontractors whose workers are wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers and airplane cleaners, were on the other end of that announcement.
The nonunionized workers from Prospect and PrimeFlight Airline Services took part in the work stoppage to protest their employers' failure to pay them $10.88 per hour. Mayor Nutter in May signed an executive order raising the employees' wages, but only for new or renewing contracts.
The employees are set to receive raises in July. About 150 of them went to City Hall Thursday and asked Council to pressure their employers to act sooner.
The workers filled a five-floor stairwell before dropping two long banners from the railings, one reading "Poverty wages don't fly." They were joined by several members of Council who led them in chants that echoed through the cavernous space.
"If they don't take care of you, they will not get another vote out of me," Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. yelled to the crowd.
After the rally, Jones said Council, during the budget review, will look at whether airport contractors that do not pay the higher wages are in violation of their leases with the city.
A spokeswoman from the Des Plaines, Ill.-based Prospect declined to say exactly when the workers would receive raises. PrimeFlight, based in Nashville, did not respond to a call for comment.
Airport spokeswoman Diane Gerace said operations were not disrupted by the work stoppage.