32BJ Statement: Minimum Wage Increase at EWR, JFK, LGA
Baggage Handlers, Cleaners, Security, More to See $15.60/hour Pay
NEWARK, N.J. — Workers at Newark Liberty International Airport will earn massive raises this month as high as $3.15/hour, bringing wages up to the new minimum of $15.60/hour beginning Friday, Sept. 13. The same, new minimum wage standard will also go into effect at John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York. By 2023, workers at all of New York’s metropolitan airports will earn $19.00/hour, the highest mandated minimum wage in the nation. 32BJ SEIU, a union that represents 2,500 contracted service workers at EWR, won the record high minimum wage.
“Workers at EWR challenged industry standards and broke records,” said Kevin Brown, 32BJ SEIU Vice President and New Jersey District Director. “This type of raise is completely transformative for local residents who, alongside workers at JFK and LGA, are on the path to making the highest mandated minimum wage of any other airport in the nation. Seven years ago, workers were making almost 80 per cent less, but by the end of the week, thousands of residents will have more money in the bank. Meaningful raises like this lift up working families and funnel money through our local economies, lifting up our entire region that helps workers and businesses to prosper.
“The fight wasn’t easy. During this 7-year campaign, our union held countless rallies and strikes; not yielding to rain, snow or even arrests. And we could not have done it without Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Senator Loretta Weinberg and Port Authority Chairman Kevin J. O’Toole by our side.”
“I’ve been working at the airport for over twelve years and I’ve watched it totally change. I remember when our checks were at $7.25/hour,” said John Wilson, terminal baggage handler at EWR. “Watching my coworkers and I fight for higher wages and start to earn $15.60/hour this month means everything to us. We’re going to pay bills on time this month and worry less. Others will be saving for their kids’ college. To me, this means financial freedom to do things I couldn’t do before. We have raised each other up, and we’re not stopping here.”
Some workers will see the raise in their checks on Friday, Sept. 13, and others on Friday, Sept. 20.