Sep 27, 2018

Minimum wage hikes coming to New York-area airport workers

Airport workers take part in a strike at the Newark International Airport in March 2016. Photo by VIEW press/Corbis via Getty Images

About 40,000 workers, including baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and caterers, at three New York-area airports will see their minimum wage jump to $19 an hour by 2023 after years of protests and pressure from the unionized workers.

Why it matters: This increase, approved on Thursday by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is beyond the $15 minimum wage in several other large cities and is expected to be the highest set by a public agency in the country.

The details: Employees at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, who currently earn about $10.45 per hour, would be the biggest beneficiaries of the phased-in hikes because of the differences between state minimum wage laws.

  • The wage for workers at Newark will increase to $12.45 an hour on Nov. 1, followed by annual increases over the next five years.
  • Workers at John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York currently earn at least $13 an hour. Their wage will jump to $13.60 in November and gradually increase each year.

What they're saying:

  • The Port Authority, controlled by the Democratic governors of both states, said the increase would boost workplace morale, productivity, and slash staff turnover rates which have increased by 50% since 2010.

The other side: A spokesman for Airlines for America, a trade association of U.S. airlines that opposes the wage hike, said the group complies with all state minimum wage laws. However, he argues that the Port Authority has exceeded its legal authority.

"Picking winners and losers and creating a patchwork of conflicting and confusing wage rates is not just bad policy, it amounts to one more backdoor tax that airline customers don’t want to pay."
— Spokesman Vaughn Jennings, told Axios in a statement.

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Countries where novel coronavirus cases are falling may be hit with a "second peak" if they relax restrictions too soon, World Health Organization emergencies chief Mike Ryan warned during a briefing Monday. "We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,498,849 — Total deaths: 346,306 — Total recoveries — 2,233,180Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,662,768 — Total deaths: 98,223 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: Latam is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.