Philly airport workers get raise in new lease agreement

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 A passenger walks through the Philadelphia International Airport where employees of various contractors are now earning a

A passenger walks through the Philadelphia International Airport where employees of various contractors are now earning a "living wage" under a new agreement with the city. (AP file photo)

Many workers at Philadelphia International Airport received a major raise to start the new fiscal year.  

It’s part of a new lease agreement between airlines and the city.

The new agreement should improve services for travelers while also benefiting baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants and aircraft cleaning crews whose hourly pay is rising from just under $8 to about $12. 

It signifies that those workers are appreciated, said Mayor Michael Nutter.

“When you interact with the traveling public, you create the first impression of our great city,” Nutter said. “Your hospitality makes a huge difference on how people see us and experience us.”

Hammering out the deal with city officials, who were pushing for the “living wage” standard for the airport workers, took a lot of work, according to Steven Johnson, American Airlines vice president.

“Everyone brought a different viewpoint to the table and everyone was given equal respect and consideration,” he said. “There was a lot of give and take, and everyone involved kept a singular focus throughout on building a strong airport that will benefit everyone who lives and works in greater Philadelphia.”

The five-year deal can be extended for another two years, officials said, estimating the lease agreement could generate just over $2 billion for the city.

 

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