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Pascrell Statement On Port Authority Wage Directive - Renews Call For Wage Increase For New Jersey Workers

NEWARK - During an event today at Newark Liberty Airport, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) released the following statement regarding the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s recent decision to direct airlines to implement pay and benefit increases for contracted workers at New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports but not New Jersey facilities:


"The Port Authority took a bold step in directing pay and benefit increases for contracted workers at LaGuardia and JFK airports. While this is welcome news, the Port Authority’s decision unfairly leaves out the men and women right here at Newark Liberty and up at Teterboro in my district. Our brothers and sisters on this side of the Hudson are working just as hard and performing the same essential functions as their counterparts in New York. This is why I immediately wrote to Port Authority officials urging them to expand this directive to include facilities throughout New York and New Jersey.

"Port Authority's response that a wage increase for workers could potentially result in increased fees to the consumer is simply inexcusable. A modest wage increase for workers would have a minor impact on bottom lines, but it would make all the difference to the workers, many of whom are making below the federal poverty guidelines. Sure enough, Delta Airlines followed the directive - even giving the raise retroactively - and they are to be commended. Employees deserve a decent wage so they can provide for their families. Under no circumstance should New Jersey workers be left behind, and I’ll continue to fight to ensure they get the pay they deserve.

The full text of Rep. Pascrell's letter to Port Authority follows:
January 30, 2014

Mr. David Samson
Chairman
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
225 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003

Ms. Deborah Gramiccioni
Deputy Executive Director
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
225 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003

Dear Chairman Samson and Deputy Executive Director Gramiccioni:

I applaud the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s recent decision to direct airlines to implement pay and benefit increases for contracted workers at New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports. I believe workers at Newark Liberty International Airport are performing the same essential functions as their counterparts in New York, and therefore, these employees deserve the same level of compensation. I write today to urge you to expand this directive as soon as possible to include Port Authority facilities throughout New York and New Jersey.

Many contracted workers at Newark Airport currently make New Jersey’s minimum wage of $8.25 per hour. Furthermore, many lack health care coverage, and have few, if any, sick days. An immediate $1 raise and an eventual increase to an hourly rate of $10.10 will bring pay for thousands of contracted workers at our region’s airports in line with President Obama’s call for a $10.10 federal minimum wage in his State of the Union speech this past Tuesday. Holiday pay and health benefits will also improve the quality of life for those workers on whom our constituents rely on each and every day while traveling through our airports.

Increased wages will benefit airlines and travelers as well. Airlines providing service at Port Authority airports will profit through higher morale, a boost in productivity, and decreased training costs due to reduced turnover. A healthier, happier workforce at our region’s airports will improve the visitor experience and reduce stress for those traveling to or from New Jersey and New York.

As government officials, we have a duty to ensure that New Jersey families have the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty through hard work. Good paying jobs at Newark Airport serve as a vital lifeline to families across Northern New Jersey. Therefore, I urge you to extend the pay and benefit increases for workers at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports to cover employees at Newark Liberty as well. New Jersey workers should not be left behind.

Thank you for your consideration of this vital request. I look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
/s
Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress

cc: The Honorable Chris Christie, Governor, State of New Jersey

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