PHL Wheelchair Attendants Drop Training Complaints Against PrimeFlight

Aug. 01--Workers who push passengers in wheelchairs at Philadelphia International Airport have withdrawn complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation that alleged they did not receive proper training from their employer, PrimeFlight Aviation Services, and equipment to do their jobs safely.

The workers dropped their action naming PrimeFlight and airlines including US Airways Group, United, and Southwest after seeing documentation that they had received the required training.

In May, the workers alleged violations of the federal Air Carrier Access Act and asked the Transportation Department to impose fines and order the airlines to force PrimeFlight to correct the problems.

US Airways and Nashville-based PrimeFlight, which provides ground handling and aircraft and terminal services to airlines at 45 airports, denied the allegations in papers filed with the Transportation Department. It provided evidence that "each and every complainant" had received training that exceeded the requirements of the law and that the equipment used was "in sound working order."

The workers this week authorized Service Employees International Union 32BJ, which assisted them, to withdraw the complaints.

SEIU said US Airways had produced PrimeFlight training records. Based on that information, the union said, "complainants have reached a good-faith conclusion that further pursuit of this action is not warranted."

SEIU acknowledged in the filing that it "is engaged in an organizing campaign of airport workers at several airports," including airline service contractor employees at Philadelphia International.

US Airways said SEIU's organizing effort was directed at employees of PrimeFlight and not the carrier. Many US Airways employees are members of unions.

"It is inappropriate for the union to attempt to involve US Airways in its organizing campaign, and to use the department's processes as leverage against the carrier," the airline said.

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