TRENTON – Acting to ensure greater protections and wages for workers at Newark Liberty International Airport and Train Station the Senate Labor Committee passed the “Healthy Terminals Act” today. The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senator Linda Greenstein, would raise the minimum wage for certain airport workers as well as mandate a standard health benefits supplement and paid leave requirement.
“Workers everywhere deserve health care,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “The people who keep Newark International Airport and Train Station running, the men and women who make sure our largest airport is safe, clean and functional, are essential in every respect. If they are able to see a doctor, get proper care and earn a living wage it makes all of us healthier, safer and stronger as a community.”
In order to ensure that workers can afford health care in the market place, the bill, S-989, would create a specific minimum wage for the Newark Liberty International Airport and Train Station workers. Starting September 1, 2021, workers would be paid two dollars more than New Jersey’s minimum wage and that increase would ramp up to four dollars more than New Jersey’s minimum wage by September 2025.
“This pandemic has proven that we must ensure every worker, especially those most at risk, must have access to affordable healthcare,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Newark airport is a vital hub for the entire region and the people who keep it running, especially in times of crisis, unquestionably deserve affordable health care and a fair, living wage.”
The bill would also mandate a standard benefits supplement rate and paid leave requirements for covered airport and train station workers based on the Guard I classification under the federal “McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act”.
“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind how important Newark airport is to our state’s residents and our state’s economy, so there should be no hesitation to ensure its workers have a basic access to health care and a living paycheck,” Senator Weinberg concluded.
The McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act requires contractors and subcontractors performing services on prime contracts in excess of $2,500 to pay service employees in various classes no less than the wage rates and fringe benefits found prevailing in the locality, or the rates (including prospective increases) contained in a predecessor contractor’s collective bargaining agreement. The U.S. Department of Labor issues wage determinations on a contract-by-contract basis in response to specific requests from contracting agencies. These determinations are incorporated into the contract.
The bill was released from the committee by a vote of 3-2.