Workers at the three Port Authority of NY and New Jersey major airports stand to receive at least $19 an hour, a higher minimum wage than in any city or state in the nation, following a long, union-led campaign to boost salaries.
This revised wage policy also would eventually bring wage parity to workers at Newark Liberty International Airport, who have earned less than their counterparts at JFK International and La Guardia for more than a year. Governor Cuomo and the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, which operates Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, have based the framework for changes at the NY airports on the recommendations of the Governor's Airport Advisory Panel, which was tasked with developing comprehensive best practices for ensuring these busy airports remain at the vanguard of airport systems worldwide.
A spokesperson for Casual Workers Advice Office said the bill in its current form underestimates the increased workload for the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration and its staff capacity, by passing the mediation function for the national minimum wage to this body.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy showed up at the board meeting to urge action.
By September 2020, workers at all three airports would make the same hourly wage of $15.60 and be increased at the same rate until they reach $19 an hour by September 2023.
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Airport workers' wages are scheduled for takeoff after the Port Authority finally voted Thursday to raise their pay following a years-long campaign. Cotton said a study at San Francisco's airport found that higher wages led to better worker performance and less turnover.
"This is going to have an impact on the national movement of airport workers", says Figueroa.
Airport workers cheer the decision to phase in wage hikes for them. "But they want the new minimum wage to be implemented right now", she said.
In the past, Port Authority officials expressed concern that jobs could be lost if the wage is raised and positions are reduced or workers let go. "Now I think they will stick around and like me they'll be able to develop the experience and training to keep passengers safe and help them get to their destinations quickly and efficiently", said Canute Drayton, a security agent at JFK. The agency and its partners - including the airlines and terminal operators - are working cooperatively to deliver customer-centric projects that will improve the lives of travelers, while enhancing the region's economy. "This is about fairness and providing employees who work hard every day with a livable wage". "It means a lot to me", Cort said. "Residents in towns like Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle, and Union who are near the airport can celebrate this small victory in the fight to ensure NJ workers are earning more than just minimum wage". And people can not be expected to do their jobs well if they aren't paid well.