Sunday, August 30, 2015

NAACP sues US Airways over alleged airport discrimination

This story in print today about an NAACP lawsuit against US Airways, alleging discrimination in assignments for work at Philadelphia airport, isn't the first time that Inquirer reporters have heard such charges. When fellow staffer Craig McCoy and I did a detailed report in 2006 about why US Airways baggage service at the time was so bad, we were told by employees that many of them worked in a rancorous atmosphere that divided groups against one another along racial lines.

NAACP sues US Airways over alleged airport discrimination

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This story in print today about an NAACP lawsuit against US Airways, alleging discrimination in assignments for work at Philadelphia airport, isn't the first time that Inquirer reporters have heard such charges. When fellow staffer Craig McCoy and I did a detailed report in 2006 about why US Airways baggage service at the time was so bad, we were told by employees that many of them worked in a rancorous atmosphere that divided groups against one another along racial lines.

Many older, longtime employees who worked on the ramp and in fleet service then were white while most new hires were younger African Americans, creating divisions that, as one baggage handler said, were "generational but manifested themselves racially." If the allegations in the lawsuit are true, much of the division still seems to be in place.

The only oddity to me in the Inquirer's report is the last paragraph, which says the complaint charges that PHL's Terminal F, used for US Airways Express flights, is referred by some managers and workers as "The Ghetto" and more black employees are stationed there. According to the story, the terminal is "perceived to have more minority or lower-income passengers," the complaint said. The last allegation seems strange to me, since the flights operating from F are all commuters, many of them short, relatively expensive flights that logically should be carrying a cross section of the airline's customers. Otherwise, the allegations certainly seem worthy of a public airing.     
 

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About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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