PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Just before the Thanksgiving holiday travel season, workers at Philadelphia International Airport are on strike.
This is all part of the first ever nationwide airport workers strike, which began Wednesday night and continues Thursday morning.READ MORE: Triple Shooting In Philadelphia Leaves Man Dead, 2 Women Coming Out Of Church Injured, Police Say
Workers are demanding a $12 per hour wage and are protesting unfair working conditions.
On Thursday’s picket line will be wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers, plane cabin cleaners and other subcontracted staff. They all work for airline subcontractors, including PrimeFlight, Prospect and McGinn Security. They are teaming with local SEIU 32BJ to protest what they call unfair working conditions and pay inequity.
They point to last June when city council signed off on $12 living wage for airport workers. Strikers say many wheelchair attendants have not gotten that raise.READ MORE: Business Is Booming At Ocean City's Boardwalk On Memorial Day Weekend: 'It’s So Gorgeous Out'
This strike is timed to align with the Thanksgiving travel rush and it includes airports from Chicago, Boston, the New York City area, down to Fort Lauderdale.
Organizers say here in Philadelphia, this day has been a long time coming:
“A couple months back City Council acted,” says Gabe Morgan, SEIU 32BJ PA/DC Vice President. “A number of these workers got the a raise. Some of the workers who were supposed to didn’t. That is part of the issue. They are all out here starting the strike because of the way they have been treated at work every day. As they tried to talk about their work conditions, we believe they have been illegally threatened, harassed, some of them illegally terminated. So they’re going on strike to stand up for themselves.”
Around noon Thursday, those workers will meet with mayor-elect Jim Kenney to discuss their struggles.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Police Investigating Kensington Double Shooting That Killed Man, Injured Woman
The strike has not impacted Thursday travel yet, but it is smart to call the airport ahead if you have a scheduled flight.