November 12, 2015

Lawmakers to call for $15 per hour minimum for Logan workers

A day after a legislative committee narrowly endorsed a bill calling for a $15 minimum wage for big box and fast food workers, a union representing 18,000 workers in Massachusetts said lawmakers from Boston and Everett are planning to propose legislation establishing the same wage floor for baggage handlers, airplane cleaners and other low-wage workers at Logan International Airport.

Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett and Rep. Adrian Madaro of Boston are sponsoring the legislation.

"As public servants deeply concerned with the growing income and wealth gap between the very rich and the majority of working families, we are sponsoring legislation to establish a $15 an hour wage floor for aviation service workers at Logan Airport by 2018 because no one should be working full time and remain in poverty," DiDomenico said Wednesday in a statement released by 32BJ SEIU. "The growing Fight for $15 movement has made $15 and hour a reality in cities like Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and it's the minimum pay at leading companies like Facebook and Aetna. Logan Airport should be next."

The union released a statement from 38-year-old Kheila Cox, a Logan baggage handler. "I have a daughter who was accepted into Lesley University. However it quickly became clear that even with financial aid we couldn't afford the tuition," Cox said. "My daughter is now attending Bunker Hill Community college. I am still so proud but it broke my heart when I couldn't help her attend Lesley after working so hard to get in. I had told her that she just had to work hard and that would be enough but it is so clear that today working hard isn't enough to get ahead."

Bills calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage face an uphill climb in the Legislature, but supporters say Massachusetts is falling behind cities where the wage has been adopted, such as Seattle, New York City and Los Angeles.

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