Date: Apr 23, 2014
Press Release Number: 83-2014
Implementation begins at agency airports, with $10.10 hourly minimum in 2015
Seeking to ensure standardized fair pay for non-trade labor service workers at its facilities, the Port Authority's Board of Commissioners today adopted a policy that provides for contractors to pay an appropriate minimum wage to their workers, with a dollar increase as soon as practicable this year for those earning $9 or less and a ramp up to $10.10 in 2015. The policy also calls for Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday, and calls on employers to develop plans for enhanced wages and benefits.
The board's action recommends the agency's Executive Director start the program with airport contract workers in positions that involve passenger safety, security and well-being at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports. These airports served more than 111 million passengers last year and comprise the nation's largest airport system.
Over the next decade, the Port Authority alone expects to invest $8 billion at its airports and these modernized facilities will require a quality workforce with the reduced turnover that comes with higher wages. The Port Authority and the airlines already pay these higher wages to their own workers, while the authority also meets the pay criteria with its own contractors.
Today's action also calls for a plan to address enhanced wages and benefits for contractor and sub-contractor workers of the airlines and other tenants. Several airlines already have begun implementing the requested higher wages with their contractors.
"This policy will be a financial boost to the tens of thousands of dedicated airport workers at JFK, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia airports, while providing immediate and long-term dividends to the agency and our airport partners,' said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. "Benefits of a higher-paid staff with increased morale include improved customer service, lower worker turnover and increased experience for those employees who handle vital security functions."
"After much deliberation, the Port Authority recognized that the adoption of the minimum wage policy and guidelines are important as we continue to modernize our airports,' said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Deb Gramiccioni. "We are only as good as the dedicated staff who assist our travelers, and we believe these guidelines will benefit everyone and help foster the continued success of the region's airports and, ultimately, of all our facilities."
Wage and benefit provisions for non-trade labor service contract workers have been addressed by the Board of Commissioners periodically over the decades, most recently in the September 2007 adoption of a policy to provide benchmarks for inclusion of affordable health care for such employees.
The Port Authority anticipates that these minimum wage actions will help reduce employee turnover, while increasing workers' job performance and creating a more stable workforce in these critical areas that focus on safety and security functions.
The agency expects workers who ultimately have more experience will be more knowledgeable of security processes and thus better able to respond to emergencies at the region's major airports. Other anticipated benefits include a higher quality of customer service throughout the airports.
Workers covered include those who provide ticketing services, passenger-related security services and clean the terminals. Most work in post-screening areas of the airport and have had background checks to meet federal security laws.
The Board's action additionally provides the Executive Director with the authorization to adjust rules at airports and other facilities, as well as to include appropriate provisions in new or amended agreements that require contractors to pay a minimum wage as a condition for doing business at agency facilities.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency's network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.