February 7, 2024
On behalf of the undersigned labor organizations, we urge you to vote in favor of the amendment Markey 29, during the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Executive Committee markup on Thursday, Feb 8, 2024.
The Good Jobs for Good Airports (GJGA) Act
The amendment addresses federal minimum standards for pay, benefits, and working conditions for essential airport service workers, who currently have none. These essential workers include concessionaires in the terminal, including those who clean the aircraft and the airport terminal; wheelchair agents; gate agents; baggage handlers; and security personnel. They serve on the frontlines of our nation’s aviation system and have kept our airports safe and functioning through a global pandemic, climate disasters, and busy travel seasons. Studies have shown that paying airport service workers a living wage and benefits improves airport services and security by lowering turnover and ensuring that airports have an experienced workforce to serve passengers and respond to emergencies.
Changes from Previous Legislation
The revised GJGA Act is the result of months of stakeholder input from airport authorities, worker advocates, the Department of Transportation, and disability advocates. These revisions include:
No Impact to Airport Funding: The GJGA will not jeopardize funding like Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants that support infrastructure projects at airports.
Revised Labor Standard: The GJGA requires employers of airport service workers to pay their workers the greater of (1) wage standards determined by the Department of Labor in accordance with the provisions of the Service Contract Act (SCA) or (2) the applicable state or local hourly wage. Wages are therefore, based on the norm for the job classification in that geographic location. This language does not set a one-size-fits-all minimum wage for airport service workers. The GJGA would also require employers to provide workers with benefits according to the SCA or the applicable state or local required benefits. Finally, employers would also certify to the Department of Transportation (DOT) that the employer is complying with the labor standard.
Covered Workers: The GJGA applies to airport service workers at medium and large hub airports, including air transportation workers (baggage handlers, wheelchair assistants, ticket agents, airplane cleaners), concessions workers (food service and retail workers, concessions cleaners, lounge workers), airline catering workers, and service workers at hotels on airport property. It does not cover (1) pilots or flight attendants; (2) state or municipal workers, such as workers employed by a public airport; and (3) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers or workers screening passengers pursuant to a TSA contract. This language also does not include workers at small hub airports.
We can build a safer, more resilient air travel system by providing airport service workers a living wage. Setting federal minimum wage and benefit standards stabilizes air travel and ensures enough trained staff for a robust, safe, and secure aviation system. We strongly urge Committee members to support the essential airport service workers by voting YES on Markey 29 in the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee markup on Thursday.
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA)
American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA)
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET)
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS)
Brotherhood of Railway Carmen (BRC)
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED)
Communications Workers of America (CWA)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)
International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Railroad Mechanical and Engineering Department (SMART-RME)
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB)
International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P)
International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)
National Conference of Firemen & Oilers (NCFO)
Sailors’ Union of the Pacific (SUP)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Transportation Communications International Union (TCU)
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD)
Transport Workers Unions of America (TWU)