Port board approves proposed airports wage increases

Port board approves proposed airports wage increases
Ali Rhodes and Melissa Brennan hope to sign up new members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union at JFK Airport for better wages and benefits.

Port Authority-The Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners approved a proposed expansion of the minimum wage policy at JFK International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport that will benefit thousands of airport workers.

The policy will align the wages of workers at the three airports and raise their minimum wage to $19 an hour by 2023. Following the vote, a 60-day public comment period will begin in early April and run through early June to determine if any modifications to the draft proposal are warranted. The Board is then scheduled to take action on the proposal at its June 28, 2018 meeting.

Expanding on the policy originally adopted in 2014, the revised minimum wage requirements apply to all workers, regardless of employer – many of whom are contractors or subcontractors to the airlines, terminal operators, and master concessionaires. Under the new measures, workers at Newark would see their wages increase from the current $10.45 to $12.45 as of September 1, 2018 and to $15.60 by September 1, 2019 – at which point they would be equal to the those of workers at JFK and LaGuardia. Workers at the two New York airports currently earn a minimum wage of $13.00 in line with State’s minimum wage law, enacted by Governor Cuomo in 2016.

While these wage increases will be applauded by thousands of workers at NY airports, consumers of many of these services will likely see increases prices to offset these increases in services such as porters, ground handlers, food service and perhaps even airline tickets.

Governors Murphy and Cuomo also recognize the importance of settling the long-expired labor agreements with Port Authority employees. The Board is delegating authority to the Chairman and Executive Director to empower them to address this issue swiftly and fairly.

All workers, whether they are paid by the Port Authority or the companies that operate on airport premises, are critical to delivering the service and expertise the public rightfully demands.

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