An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Cryan and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto urging the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) to request and support an increase in the minimum wage for workers at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Cryan and Prieto pointed out that the PANYNJ has already requested and indicated its support for a $1.00 per hour increase in pay for New York airport workers earning $9.00 per hour or less, at the urging of the Cuomo administration, which would affect nearly 8,000 workers.
“Unfortunately, wages have remained stagnant since the Great Recession with an accelerated shift across the U.S. economy towards lower paying jobs,” said Cryan (D-Union). “Despite New Jersey’s recent increase, workers who earn the minimum wage continue to struggle to cope with increases in their cost of living. Newark airport workers deserve jobs that allow them to support their families, the economy, and live with dignity.”
The lawmakers also noted that many Newark Airport workers earn the current state minimum wage of $8.25 per hour, or approximately $17,000 per year for a full-time worker, which includes the increase of $1.00 per hour in the state’s minimum wage that has been in effect since January 1, 2014.
“It’s absolutely crucial that the Port Authority throw their support behind an increase for New Jersey workers as well,” said Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson). “Keep in mind, many Newark airport workers earning the minimum wage are forced to rely on public assistance in order to support their families, despite full-time employment. Nearly 4,000 workers earning $9.00 per hour or less would benefit from a $1.00 per hour increase in the minimum wage at Newark airport, just like their New York counterparts.”
The sponsors noted that the federal minimum wage of $1.60 per hour in 1968 would be over $10.50 per hour today, when adjusted for inflation, if it had kept pace with the cost of living over the past 46 years. Furthermore, a majority of Americans support gradually raising the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to at least $10.00 per hour.
The measure was approved by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee. Once approved by the full Assembly, copies of the resolution will be sent to the Port Authority’s Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director and each member of the Board of Commissioners appointed by the Governor of the State of New Jersey and also filed with New Jersey’s Secretary of State.