Ron Blount doesn't care.

Doesn't care whether the entire city, or state, or Democratic Party gets angry at the city's cab drivers if they decide to strike during the Democratic National Convention July 25-28.

"We've been screwed, and we're going to screw you back. When they come here, Philadelphia is going to be in chaos, because working poor people are being screwed in this city. The schools are falling apart," said Blount, leader of Unified Taxi Workers Alliance.

"And they are coming here to have a party? They have to see what's really going on."

They are 50,000 delegates, dignitaries, politicians, and perhaps more important, journalists, about 15,000 to 20,000 of them.

"That's the whole reason for the convention, to be honest," said Abbe Depetris, a Temple University assistant professor of strategic communications who studies conventions.

"The convention used to be about nominating a candidate. Now it's just for the press," she said. "Protesters recognize that and want to see if they can grab the attention of the journalists."

On the labor front, the major unions have promised no disruption. That pledge also includes the carpenters' union, which spent 20 months picketing the Convention Center after losing the right to work there in May 2014.

"The carpenters will be there to welcome Democrats and the next president of the United States to Philadelphia," a union spokesman said.

But the pledge was not signed by workers' groups not as formally affiliated with organized unions.

So, on Tuesday, wheelchair attendants, interior airplane cleaners, and curbside baggage handlers at Philadelphia International Airport voted to authorize a strike during the DNC.

Whether they actually will strike remains unknown, but on Tuesday, they plan a dry run, a union official said.

The workers are not part of a union, but SEIU Local 32BJ has been attempting to unionize them and is the group behind the protests. The 461 workers who voted to strike are employed by subcontractors that work for the airlines. They are not airport employees, although they are covered by the city's living wage standard of $12 an hour.

"I don't anticipate any problems with our customer service or operations," said Victoria Lupica, spokeswoman for American Airlines, the airport's largest airline.

The taxi drivers' beef, at least in Philadelphia, is local - anger over how the state and city are treating them as ride-share companies Uber and Lyft push into the market. The airport workers' protests are part of a national effort to unionize workers at other airports.

"They are absolutely taking this moment to make sure their voices are being heard all across the country," said Gabriel Morgan, vice president for SEIU Local 32BJ in Philadelphia.

And, he said, they are speaking at a time when Democratic leaders recently voted to add a $15 federal minimum wage to the party platform.

"Tactically, we think it's a great thing if leaders from the Democratic Party show their support for lifting workers out of poverty," Morgan said.

Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, said the groups' two main - and deeply intertwined - goals would be leverage and messaging.

"They are trying to leverage the spotlight and the pressure of the city to do a good job hosting" the convention, Borick said. "The strike might cause some turmoil that would increase the pressure to get them what they want.

"The spotlight is so much brighter and it is political," he said. "Often economic issues dovetail with political issues - for example, the $15 minimum wage and you have those discussions going on juxtaposed against local labor issues."

The risk the groups run, he said, is whether any potential disruption, minor or not, would annoy potential allies. It's a calculation more complicated with Democrats who are theoretically more labor-friendly than their GOP counterparts.

"They don't want to inconvenience someone who might be speaking for them in the political arena," Borick said. "It could put conventioneers and the delegates in an awkward position, because they want to support labor issues and are sympathetic to the cause."

Baggage handler Charles Jones, 24, of Philadelphia, is ready to strike.

"I don't know about getting anybody angry or whether it's a good audience," he said. "This is the best time, and they can hear our pain. We want to be heard. These things need to be on display."

Blount said he was not worried about creating a bad impression, given what is happening to taxi drivers. The cab drivers say Uber and Lyft are not regulated the same way they are, which gives them a competitive advantage.

In April, Blount said the drivers would not strike, but that was before this week's events. The capper was Gov. Wolf signing a budget that incorporated a provision allowing Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Philadelphia through the end of September. They had been operating illegally.

The drivers' license fees are going up, the medallions they purchased are declining in value, and people are losing their homes, he said.

"What else can they do to us?"

215-854-2769 @JaneVonBergen