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Low-Paid Workers at New York Airports Get a Salary Boost

Apr 24, 2014 11:00 am

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Low-paid workers are both a safety and a security risk. Even minor bumps like this improve matters.

— Jason Clampet

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Gary Hershorn  / Reuters

Two ground crew members walk past a United Airlines airplane as it sits at a gate at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Reuters


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey formally adopted a resolution Wednesday to raise wages for workers at its New York and New Jersey airports.

The agency operates JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports in addition to smaller airports in both states. In recent months it had expressed support for raising wages for low-wage contract workers who perform tasks such as cleaning planes, moving baggage and manning concession stands.

The Port Authority’s board on Wednesday unanimously approved a policy to immediately require contractors and vendors at its airports to give workers a $1 hourly wage increase and a raise to $10.10 per hour next year. That amount is what President Barack Obama promoted as a nationwide minimum wage during his State of the Union address earlier this year.

Port Authority executive director Pat Foye said Delta, JetBlue and American airlines already are “on board” with the plan. United, which has a hub at Newark Liberty, hadn’t challenged a similar policy in the San Francisco area, he said. Foye didn’t specify what action the Port Authority would take if a contractor or vendor refused to abide by the policy.

Foye has said that the Port Authority plans to eventually have a similar policy cover workers at all its facilities. In addition to the airports, the Port Authority operates bridges and tunnels, the Port Authority bus terminal and PATH rail service and the Ports of New York and New Jersey.

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