(TRENTON) – Newark Liberty International Airport sees millions of passengers a year making the Newark Liberty International Airport Train Station one of the busiest transit hubs in the country. Though it is a very busy and successful transit station, many of the workers at the airport and transit station often cannot afford the employer-provided healthcare plans. Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano (D-Union), Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), Joseph Egan (D-Middlesex, Somerset), and Shanique Speight (D-Essex) sponsor legislation passed by the full Assembly on Thursday, 47-25, requiring certain airport and train station workers to be paid a higher wage.
“Before the pandemic, when this bill was introduced, workers needed help,” said Quijano. “It is time we invest in the workforce that makes air travel possible. Winning the Healthy Terminals Act will be a victory for Black and Brown, men and women who have been on the front lines of COVID-19, sanitizing planes, cleaning terminals, securing the airports, handling baggage and mail, and pushing wheelchairs.”
The bill (A-2487) known as the “Healthy Terminals Act” requires certain airport and train station workers to be paid specified wage rates and benefits and makes those requirements subject to the “New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act”.
“While airlines are getting billion-dollar bailouts, we cannot forget that airline workers are in greater need during this pandemic,” said Benson. While wages have increased, access to good, affordable health care continues to be out of reach for many airport workers. Our bill will make sure they don’t have to choose between their health and their job.”
“Many of these workers have to choose between healthcare or paying for housing,” said Egan. “No one should have to ignore their personal health in order to afford rent or a mortgage. This bill will help people keep a roof over their head and receive proper medical treatment.”
Following similar successful legislation that applies to federal employees, the bill would ask employers to provide a supplement to wages for subcontracted airport workers that they could use to acquire health care.
“These employees include security, baggage handlers and many more positions,” said Speight. “Travelers rely on these employees to help them maneuver through the airport or train station. This bill will enhance their ability to afford healthcare, stay healthy, receive treatment if necessary, and keep everyone who passes through safe and healthy as well.”