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Gov. Christie Claims He Takes Care Of His People But No Raise In Pay For Airport Workers

January 30, 2014 - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Patrick J. Foye to increase airport workers minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. However, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has made it clear he does not support a wage increase for airport workers at the Authority. 

Foye sent out letters out to American, Delta, JetBlue and United at La Guardia and Kennedy International Airports in which he indicated workers making less than $9.00 should get an immediate hourly raise of one dollar and at some point increase their wage to $10.10 per hour. 

At present many of the workers at the port are making less than $8.50 per hour. As a result workers have led a campaign to receive better wages. Foye also requested that employees be paid for Martin Luther King’s Birthday as a paid holiday and it should apply retroactively to the last holiday.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is a joint venture between the States of New York and New Jersey. It covers much of the transportation infrastructure of New York and New Jersey, which includes bridges, tunnels, airports, and seaports. 


The port covers New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport, Atlantic City International Airport, Stewart International Airport, Teterboro Airport and Atlantic City International Airport. On the New York side it covers La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International Airport. 

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ has led a year long campaign fighting for increased wages for its 12,000 airport workers. These workers provide vital services to the airports and airlines. They include baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, aircraft cabin cleaners, drivers, etc. Many of these workers make less than $8.00 per hour while port officials and airline executives make more than adequate living wages.



Deputy Executive Director Deb Gramiccioni, who is a longtime Christie friend and was recently appointed in her position as a result of the firing of Bill Baroni, who helped orchestrate the George Washington Bridge lane closing said, “This directive raises complex labor, business and legal issues that our airlines, their business partners and employees are facing, and we need to consider the significant financial and operational impacts at our airports.” 

Jean Medina a spokes person for Airlines for America said, “Wages are set by federal and state governments and by the marketplace. The workers in question are not airline employees. Airlines have individual contracts with service companies and antitrust laws prohibit airlines from collectively dictating to our contractors what salaries and benefits they should offer their employees. That is between those companies and their employees or union representatives. No company dictates to its vendors what their employees should be paid.”

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