April 23, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—“Hey!, Hey!, Ho!, Ho!, Poverty Wages Gotta Go,” chanted airport workers outside the Port Authority’s offices on Park Avenue South as the Port is expected to lay out a plan on how it will improve wages and benefits for over 12,000 airport workers. Video
It was way back in February when Patrick Foye, the Port Authority’s executive director, issued a directive to the major airlines—Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, United Airlines and American Airlines—to immediately raise workers making less than $9 an hour their wage by $1 an hour, followed by a phase-in to $10.10.
However, it appears that some of the airlines and the contractors they hire, who in turn employ over 12,000 workers who work as porters, cleaners and security guards, haven’t bumped up the workers' wages.
In the video, David Harrison, who works at Terminal 1 at JFK Airport for Allstate Building & Office Maintenance, said he still hasn’t gotten a wage increase.
“I haven’t received any type of wage increase at all. None whatsoever,” said Harrison.
Robert Hill, a 32BJ SEIU vice president, the property services union that’s been organizing airport workers in the New York area, said in the video interview that not all the airlines have complied with Foye’s February directive.
“While some airlines have said yes to a wage increase, such as Delta and American, others like United have refused,” Hill said.
At its public meeting starting at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, the Port Authority is to present its plan. Hill said the plan would give Foye and the Port Authority the authority to mandate wage increases across the board at the airports.
“We’re also calling on the Port to do is to make sure to finish the promise, which was a three- to five-year plan to get family health care and living wages that are comparable to other Port Authority workers.”
Follow Marc on Twitter firstname.lastname@example.org