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Lesniak Calls On Port Authority to Enact $15 Minimum Wage

Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union)

Trenton – Senator Raymond Lesniak today called on the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to grant airline workers a minimum wage of $15 per hour, saying “there is no need to study the obvious: that working people can’t support themselves and their families on the current, poverty-inducing wage of $10.10 an hour.”

In a letter to New Jersey’s Port Authority commissioners, Senator Lesniak said, “It’s time for the New Jersey Port Authority Commissioners to ‘man up and stand up’ for the underpaid workers at Newark Airport who do the jobs necessary for travelers to fly in comfort and for the airlines to make billions at their expense. The Port Authority is a disaster itself and is loaded with high salaried employees. It’s unconscionable for its commissioners to turn their backs on workers currently making poverty-level wages.”

The PA board yesterday voted to “study” a proposal to boost the minimum pay of airplane and terminal contract employees. Senator Lesniak singled out New Jersey Commissioners David Steiner and Pat Schuber for praise for reportedly voting for the wage increase in a straw vote of commissioners in executive session. He urged the other New Jersey commissioners to do the right thing and follow their lead.

“The commissioners punted on enacting a living wage for its manual labor workers and chose to pass the buck by calling for a study,” said Senator Lesniak. “Do your job and stand up now for descent wages and benefits for all Port Authority workers.”

Senator Lesniak referred to a recent study showing that a record number of New Jersey residents are now living in poverty, a finding that underscores the importance of reducing an income gap that is punishing working people in an otherwise wealthy state with higher costs of living.

“The findings of Legal Services of New Jersey show that an increasing number of people have been pushed into poverty,” said Senator Lesniak, referring to figures showing that 2.8 million adults and 800,000 children in the state are living in poverty. “Working full time and often holding multiple jobs, it is still hard for low-wage employees to stay afloat. We need to find ways to bring more income equality to New Jersey.”