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July 23, 2016

PHL Airport workers' planned strike during DNC averted

Union, American Airlines reach agreement, Kenney says

DNC2016 Labor
Leapheart protest Hayden Mitman /PhillyVoice

Reverend Naomi Leapheart, of Power Metro, speaks during a Tuesday morning rally for members of the airport workers union. A planned strike from the union during the upcoming Democratic National Convention has been averted after the union and American Airlines came to an agreement, officials announced Friday, July 22.

A planned strike from workers at Philadelphia International Airport during the upcoming Democratic National Convention has been averted, officials announced Friday.

Mayor Jim Kenney said that he and Gov. Tom Wolf brought 32BJ SEIU and American Airlines together on an agreement that will give employees of airport vendors the opportunity to form a union of their choosing.

Kenney said the two parties would be working into next week to come to an agreement on a new union and to ensure "smooth operation" of the airport for the convention, which runs from July 25 to 28.

32BJ SEIU, which represents baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, janitors and security officers, has been working to form a union that represents all airport workers.

"I look forward to a resolution that works for all parties and ensures the highest level of service at PHL," Kenney said in a statement.

32BJ SEIU had planned to strike during the convention for better work scheduling and $15-an-hour wages.

The date and time of the strike were not made public, leaving questions about how the demonstration would impact travel for Democratic delegates coming to the city for the convention.

In a statement, Gabe Morgan, vice president of 32BJ SEIU,  thanked Kenney and Wolf for convening meetings between the union and American, and said that the airline was committed to "ensuring that subcontracted workers have a fair process to form their union."

"We look forward to a new era where airport workers, subcontractors and the airlines are all able prosper," Morgan said.