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"Fight for $15" Lands at Logan Airport

Kheila Cox is among the Logan Airport workers applauding a planned measure that would boost the pay of workers a Logan Airport to 15 dollars an hour. Courtesy: 32BJ SEIU
Kheila Cox is among the Logan Airport workers applauding a planned measure that would boost the pay of workers a Logan Airport to 15 dollars an hour. Courtesy: 32BJ SEIU
November 12, 2015

BOSTON - Low-wage workers in Massachusetts have been busy in a nationwide effort to boost the minimum wage and now legislation is planned to boost airport worker pay. State Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) plans to be the lead sponsor of a measure to raise Logan Airport wages to $15 an hour. He says these workers are vital to airport security and air travelers will feel more secure if these workers are making a living wage.

"We filed this bill because we understand how important it is for people to earn a living wage and be able to support their families," says DiDomenico. "The folks at the airport and throughout the entire state, to be honest, there's a large group of people that are not able to do that."

DiDomenico says low-bid contracts at Logan have subjected some workers to poor working conditions. Even though they work high-stress jobs, he says many are not properly paid for overtime work.

Kheila Cox is a baggage handler at Logan. She says personal dignity is at stake. She just had to tell her 19-year-old daughter she could not attend the top-ranked college she got into, and will instead have to attend a less expensive alternative.

"My daughter never asked me for much, my daughter always worked and even with me and her working, and her father working, it's just too much, it's too much of a burden," says Cox. "But this one thing, an education, a quality education of her choice, she should be able to get that."

Senator DiDomenico says he was disappointed but not surprised to see GOP front-runners Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio oppose raising the minimum wage in this week's debate. That's why, he says, the "Fight For 15" is so important.

"When you look at the minimum wage as years have gone by, they have not kept up with inflation; even at this number we still haven't caught up, to where we should be over time," he says.

The airport landlord Massport is on record saying all workers should make a fair wage.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA