Airport workers in New York City’s main airports are mobilizing to support a bill that will increase employees’ pay to nearly $18 an hour. New York lawmakers are expected to vote on the legislation before the end of the current legislative session.
Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations has been following the unions’ negotiations with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Bronfenbrenner says progress in the bill shows creativity and strategy on the part of the leading union, SEIU 32 BJ.
“This is a story about escalating creative tactics used in a comprehensive campaign by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), more specifically the local service workers’ union SEIU 32 BJ.
“32BJ starting wage in their contracts is well above $15 as are most union contracts. They have high density in the New York and New Jersey areas so they were always aiming higher than $15 to bring it in line with their existing contracts.
“This is not about a trend but rather about a continuation of an old pattern: the unions who are succeeding in tough times are those who are organizing and bargaining strategically and creatively, running comprehensive campaigns involving members and community allies, in every stage of the campaign.”