The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today unanimously adopted an expanded minimum wage policy for JFK International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports that will bring the wages of thousands of airport workers to $19/hour by 2023. The new policy will benefit the traveling public by reducing staff turnover and providing an experienced, well-trained, motivated workforce that can better assist in responding to an emergency, identifying security issues, operating equipment safely, and providing experienced customer service.

The policy adopted by the board today will increase and ultimately align the wages of workers at the three airports, including a $2/hour increase for workers at Newark beginning on November 1, 2018. This represents a nearly $4/hour increase for workers at Newark Airport – primarily catering workers – who were not covered under the previous $10.10 minimum policy.

NJBIA opposed the increase, arguing it would make an already expensive service worse as businesses are forced to pass along the increased costs to customers

The board said its action follows a period of extensive public input on the issue, including the receipt of nearly 800 written comments from workers, businesses, academic experts and elected officials. Throughout the process, the Port Authority posted all comments and provided the public with summaries of written comments. As part of its deliberative process, the Port Authority developed a comprehensive “Analysis and Justification”, which explores issues surrounding the minimum wage proposal, including those raised during the public comment process and sets out the basis for the Board’s action. The document also responds to four issues that were the subject of a supplemental 30-day comment period – tipped workers, health benefits offsets, “street pricing” and small businesses. The full report can be found here.

“While Washington does everything it can to chop away at workers’ rights, New York continues to lead the way forward by raising the minimum wage to $15 and fighting to ensure airport workers earn a decent living,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This campaign is about respect and paying a fair living wage for honest work in an industry that depends on its employees to safely operate some of the most important public facilities in our nation – our airports. In New York, we stand with workers and we will always serve as a beacon of progress and opportunity for all.”

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