Although Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers by 2018, there are thousands of low wage workers at the airports still fighting for a living wage. In fact, airport workers are fighting to receive raises that were already promised to them.
October 1st marked the 1 year anniversary of the Port Authority’s self-imposed deadline for a better wage and benefits plan that was supposed to raise 12,000 airport workers in New York and New Jersey out of poverty.
“While the airports generate billions in economic activity and the airlines rake in record profits, workers earn poverty wages, with few meaningful benefits. In fact, while airlines rake in record profits and benefit from large tax incentives, more than 50% of airport workers are forced to rely on public subsidies to survive,” reads a letter signed by nearly 80 state senators, assemblymen, mayors and city council members from New York and New Jersey.
The show of support sends a clear message to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that low wage workers are important not only to the Governor’s campaign for $15, but also to elected officials who represent these workers in both states.
As the Port Authority continues to move forward with plans to renovate and modernize the airports, its plans to raise wages for the workers who keep these airports running have been delayed. We cannot claim to have a 21st century airport while workers toil under 19thcentury wages and working conditions and the Port Authority’s broken promises mean that airport workers and their families have continued to struggle to survive for the past year.
As the fight for $15 continues to expand in New York, airport workers in the region hope that part of this campaign includes increased pressure on the Port Authority to finally release its long overdue better wage and benefits plan.
The full, open letter from elected officials to the Port Authority can be seen here: https://buildingworkers.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/100115-port-authority-letter.pdf