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Port Authority Votes To Raise Minimum Wage For Hourly JFK, LaGuardia Airport Workers

JFK, LaGuardia airport workers rally outside Port Authority headquarters, April 23, 2014. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

JFK, LaGuardia airport workers rally outside Port Authority headquarters, April 23, 2014. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey board has voted to approve a higher minimum wage for hourly workers at John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.

The vote came hours after the union workers rallied outside Port Authority headquarters Wednesday afternoon to demand higher pay and more benefits.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, baggage handlers, security officers, cabin cleaners and maintenance workers let their voices be heard as the Port Authority voted to force airlines to raise their poverty wage.

As expected, the board adopted a new wage floor policy of $10.10 an hour for hourly workers and will send letters to the airlines telling them they must follow the new rules.

Most airlines have agreed to the wage increase, Diamond reported.

“So this will, we believe, gives the Port the authority to say if you want to have a subcontractor work at the airport, you’ve got to pay,” 32BJ vice president Rob Hill told Diamond.

The union represents 12,000 union airport workers at JFK and LaGuardia. Newark Liberty International Airport workers are not covered by the Port Authority’s actions for the wage hike.

Leonie Martinez is a wheelchair agent at JFK’s JetBlue terminal who said she feels taken advantage of.

“They have this misunderstanding of us. They have this perception of us that none of us are smart, that none of us know our rights,” she told Diamond.

The workers also want health benefits and a paid Martin Luther King Day holiday.board meeting.

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