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Thousands of D.C.-Area Airport Workers Win a Raise after Two-Year Fight


Thousands of workers employed by contractors at National and Dulles airports in the Washington, D.C., area are getting a big raise after a two-year effort:

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board voted Wednesday to require companies that do business at the airports to pay contract workers a base hourly wage of $11.55 starting in January. In all, 4,500 workers — responsible for keeping terminals and plane cabins clean, moving bags, serving meals, and transporting people with disabilities — are expected to benefit from the pay increase. Many of the workers make as little as $7.25 an hour. The plan, approved on a 15 to 1 vote, also will boost pay for Dulles Toll Road workers.

The expansion of the authority’s living wage program covers eight additional contracts, and will cost $750,000 to $850,000 annually, according to a report prepared for the board. The base hourly wage will increase to $11.55 on January 1 of next year, $12.15 on January 1, 2019, and $12.75 on January 1, 2020. After that, increases will be tied to inflation.

Companies that contract directly with the airports were already required to pay $14.27 an hour, but companies contracting with airlines or concessions weren’t covered. Though the workers who will get raises are not union members, two unions—SEIU and UNITE HERE—were involved in negotiating the pay increase.

This will make a real difference in people’s lives:

“With this raise, I’ll be able to afford my apartment rent,” said Pearl Fuller, a food service employee at Dulles, who makes $9.20 an hour hour.

“Right now, I have to work two jobs,” said Fuller, who lives in Sterling, in Loudoun County. “…. I’ll be able to take better care of my children.”

Daily Kos 4/19


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