Airport workers in New York and New Jersey are set to enjoy the highest public sector minimum wage in the country, after the Port Authority Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to raise workers’ pay to $19 per hour by 2023.
As many as 40,000 workers at the Port Authority’s three airports will benefit from the wage hike, which will see salaries increase in stages, the New York Times reports.
“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,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The new rate goes well beyond the $15 wage standard set by New York state and several cities, and comes after several years of negotiation between unionized airport workers and the Port Authority board, according to the Times. Among the first to see gains will be workers at Newark’s airport, whose minimum hourly salaries will jump by $2 on November 1 to $12.45.
The decision follows a series of recent wage hikes at other airports around the country. Seattle-Tacoma International airport adopted a $15 minimum wage in 2013, while the Los Angeles International airport boosted workers’ pay boost to $18.99 per hour, including benefits, in July. But airlines have warned that raising wages could lead to higher costs for travelers.
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Port Authority’s wage hike also comes amid several planned renovations, including a new $2.7 billion Terminal One in Newark and $8 billion overhaul of the 79-year-old La Guardia Airport. In 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump lamented that New York’s airports were “like from a third world country.”