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Faith Leaders to Shine Light on Scrooge-Like Wages Paid to Many Airport Workers

Immediately following public hearings on enforcement of the City's Living Wage Ordinance on Tuesday, POWER Clergy Leaders will Hold Press Conference to lift up the need to pay family-sustaining wages on all city-supported contracts or projects.

POWER Prayer Rally at Airport -1
PRLog - Dec. 7, 2012 - PHILADELPHIA -- Media Advisory
Contact: Dwayne Royster - 215-237-4503
email: droyster@powerphiladelphia.org

Following Tuesday’s Public Hearings, Faith Leaders Will Shine Light on Scrooge-Like Wages Paid to Many Airport Workers

POWER points to Labor Study Documenting Low Pay and Lack of Benefits at Airport

Clergy leaders representing Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild (POWER) will gather outside City Council Chambers (4th Floor City Hall) on Tuesday, Dec. 11th, 11:00am, to urge enforcement of the City’s 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard (“Living Wage Ordinance”) at the Philadelphia International Airport.  The Press Conference will follow public hearings conducted by the Living Wage and Benefits Review Committee - the body charged with reviewing the implementation of the Living Wage Ordinance - to draw attention to the fact that many Airport sub-contractors skirt the Ordinance’s requirements and pay their workers poverty wages without benefits.  

The city-owned Airport is the region’s largest economic engine – supporting more than 140,000 jobs and generating more than $14 billion in annual economic activity.  But according Raising the Bar: Ensuring that Airport Expansion Lifts All of Philadelphia – a new study released by Fight for Philly (click http://fightforphilly.org/2012/11/15/raising-the-bar-ensu... to read study) – many passenger service workers at the Airport do not reap their fair share of the profits that the Airport generates.  The report highlights the Airport’s low-bid contracting system for airline subcontractors that enables profitable companies to exert downward pressure on wages.  For example, U.S. Airways, the Airport’s main carrier, posted record second quarter profits of $306M while many of the workers who make sure the Airport is operational are forced to live on $7.25 an hour.  Click here to read and download the report.

In response, POWER has launched its Economic Justice Campaign (click http://www.powerphiladelphia.org/news/new-video-captures-... to view short Video about the Campaign) and joined with labor allies to urge City Council and the Administration to adopt policies put in place in other cities that would raise starting pay to $10.88/hour, provide health care benefits to more workers, and create a system that preferences, and trains, economically disadvantaged Philadelphia residents for jobs at the Airport. “We are fighting for the Airport not just to be a job generator, but a living wage, family-sustaining job generator” says Bishop Dwayne Royster, Executive Director of POWER.

Such a policy would have concrete affect on real workers’ lives.  Juan Lantigua, a security officer for Aviation Safeguards, makes $8.00/hour with no benefits.  Juan is a diabetic and sometimes must go to the hospital for his condition.  “My family relies on public health insurance and food stamps to survive – even though I work.  I was recently in the hospital and have thousands of dollars in bills I can’t pay.  We deserve time off, benefits and better pay” says Lantigua.  Underpaid Airport workers like Lantigua plan to testify at Tuesday’s hearings about their plight and to urge enforcement of the Living Wage Ordinance.

Following the hearings in City Council Chambers, POWER clergy leaders and allies will conduct a Press Conference to lift up the moral imperative to ensure family-sustaining wages and the importance of living wage jobs for our City’s economy.  Rev. Zack Ritvalsky, POWER leader and pastor of Sweet Union Baptist Church in West Philadelphia says, “In this holiday season we urge our City’s elected officials to give the gift of living wage jobs to our city. City Council and the Mayor can begin by passing a comprehensive Good Jobs ordinance for work at all city-supported or –subsidized projects and sites, including at the Airport.”

Tuesday, Dec. 11th Logistics:

● Council Hearings on Living Wage Ordinance Enforcement: 10:00am, 4th floor, City Council Chambers

● POWER Press Conference: 11:00-11:15am – 4th floor, in City Council Caucus Room or Hallway.

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Contact Email:
***@powerphiladelphia.org Email Verified
Source:POWER: AnInterfaith Movement
Location:Philadelphia - Pennsylvania - United States
Industry:Community Organization
Tags:press conference, city hall, airport jobs, Living Wages, clergy
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