Let’s make Logan Airport a fair wage zone

Contract workers at publicly-owned airport deserve a living wage

LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT is a critical hub in Massachusetts that serves more than 20 million passengers a year and brings in more than $7 billion in economic activity to the area. However, despite Logan’s vast financial impact on our Commonwealth, many of its aviation service workers do not reap the benefits.

New England’s largest airport is publicly-owned, with over 1,500 airplane cleaners, wheelchair assistants, baggage handlers and customer service workers who labor day and night for low pay and, in some cases, under extreme working conditions.

As public servants deeply concerned with the growing income and wealth gap between the very rich and the majority of working families, we are sponsoring legislation to establish a $15 an hour wage floor for aviation service workers at Logan Airport by 2018. The growing “Fight for $15” movement has made $15 an hour a reality in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. It is also the minimum pay at leading companies across the nation. We believe Logan Airport should be next.

Not long ago, aviation service jobs provided good, family-sustaining wages. Today, many airlines across the country have outsourced thousands of jobs and have brought on low-bid contractors, establishing a race to the bottom for wages and benefits. This type of contracting system encourages companies to cut corners at any cost, even when such actions violate health and safety and basic wage and hour laws, making our airports less efficient and less stable through increased worker turnover.

Working at Logan can be tough; so tough that airport workers went on strike this week. It wasn’t the first time. In June and again in August, over 100 airport workers went on strike over unfair labor practices by these same low-bid contractors. Many have also filed complaints with OSHA to try to change their working conditions and, as a result, have been fired for their lawful union activities, and subsequently put their livelihoods on the line.

While we appreciate Massport’s efforts to create a wage floor for indispensable contracted airport employees, we believe that it is time to have a minimum wage for aviation services that puts employees on a path to $15 an hour so our airports take care of passengers and workers alike.

This legislation would build upon the current wage floor mandated by Massport, going to $13.50 in 2017 and then $15 in 2018. While this increase would be life-changing for airport workers, it would cost airlines just cents of every dollar they earn at Logan.  It would also be a real boost for some of the workers that need relief the most.

Meet the Author

Meet the Author

We are filing this legislation for the people who make Logan work for all of us. They are mothers and fathers working difficult jobs and living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet. They are hard working men and women simply looking for a fair and livable wage to support themselves and their families. It’s time for us to stand with them and give them the respect and dignity that they deserve.

Sal DiDomenico represents the Middlesex and Suffolk District in the Massachusetts Senate. Adrian Madaro represents the First Suffolk District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.