Airplane cabin cleaners at Philadelphia International Airport employed by subcontractors rallied outside Terminal B on Wednesday, seeking safer procedures to protect "front line" workers against infectious diseases, including Ebola.

Tommy Rodney, a cabin cleaner and supervisor in the international terminal, said his employer, Prospect Aviation Services Inc., gives workers latex gloves that rip easily, and no training on exposure to waste and bodily fluids in cleaning aircraft bathrooms, removing trash, wiping down tray tables, and digging through seat pockets and cushions.

"We clean up cups and drinks. We are responsible for taking the used blankets and pillowcases off the planes," said aircraft cleaner Anthony Reynolds. "We are raising these issues because we want change at the airport."

The workers, who are not unionized, say the city must enforce the $10.88 hourly wage approved by Philadelphia voters in May when they increased the minimum wage for employees hired by subcontractors with city contracts and leases. The vote amended the Home Rule Charter.

The cabin cleaners, who work for contractors hired by the airlines, now earn an average of $7.85 an hour, with no health insurance or paid sick days.

The rally came two weeks after aircraft cabin cleaners at New York's LaGuardia Airport staged a 24-hour strike, saying they had been exposed to blood and vomit on planes, and were not equipped with the protective gear needed to deal with Ebola or other infectious diseases.

The Philadelphia workers were joined by Henry Nicholas, president of a health-care workers union local, and Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents 2.1 million service workers, nurses, and health-care workers.

Henry came to Philadelphia to attend the convention of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, which is headed by Nicholas, who also leads Philadelphia Local 1199C of that union.

"Workers at the airport are at ground zero," Nicholas told the crowd. "They are the first exposed, and they are not getting any training. No one is looking out for them."

SEIU's 32 BJ local has been trying to unionize about 2,000 Philadelphia airport service workers, including skycaps, baggage handlers, and wheelchair attendants, who work for contractors, including Prospect and Prime Flight Aviation Services.

US Airways, the city's largest airline and now part of American Airlines Group, contracts with Prospect, based in Des Plaines, Ill., to clean its airplanes. About 900 aircraft cabin cleaners in Philadelphia work for Prospect.

In a statement Wednesday, Prospect said it works with airline clients and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to follow the CDC's guidelines for airlines on Ebola.

Prospect said it keeps employees fully informed through regular workplace briefings, and provides workers "with the personal protective equipment and training necessary for them to do their jobs."

The federal government has limited the screening of passengers from Ebola-affected countries to five U.S. airports. Philadelphia International is not one of them.

"Our employees' likelihood of exposure to this virus is extremely limited," the company stated.

"Nevertheless, we will continue to speak and work with our employees directly to address their concerns by focusing on the actual facts and information we receive from appropriate officials."

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