“The Port Authority has stalled on its own plan for higher wages and benefits for 12,000 contracted airport workers making poverty wages, and is now nearly 10 months past the deadline it set for itself for implementation, much less a vote to pass the plan. While it is unclear what remains to be discovered after months of delay and a commissioned wage study, we are heartened to learn that the task force announced today will be led by a trusted labor leader who understands the urgent need of underpaid and under-represented workers. We trust that this newly formed task force will come to a rapid and complete resolution to this long-delayed process. We look forward to working with Commissioner Pocino and the rest of the task force as airport workers continue their fight for dignity and respect on the streets, at the airports, and in the public arena.
We also hope that recent comments by Port Authority Chairman John Degnan do not reflect the sentiments of the rest of the committee or the Port Authority Board. As the Port moves forward on a multi-million dollar plan to modernize LaGuardia and as JFK airport spends millions on a luxury animal kennel, concerns about passing costs associated with family-sustaining jobs onto passengers is disingenuous and misleading. Under no circumstances should it be acceptable for anyone to work full-time and still be forced to rely on public assistance and live in poverty. The Port Authority has a responsibility to deliver on its promise and ensure the workers under its purview are able to live a decent life, not just one of survival.”
With 145,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.