Councilor Arroyo Calls for Fair Wages for Workers at Logan Airport

October 18, 2011

Boston, MA – After learning of workers earning less than minimum wage at Logan Airport, City Councilor At-Large Felix G. Arroyo held a hearing last week to investigate the wage policy at the Airport.

“This is a matter of fairness for our working families.  A fair wage means being able to not only provide for our families, but also to spend time with our families instead of working two or three jobs to make ends meet,” said Councilor Arroyo, who chairs the committee that focuses on workers’ rights.

According to the Massachusetts Economic index of 2010, a single adult with no dependents must earn $13.60 per hour in order to live self-sufficiently.  Currently, airlines at Logan Airport contract workers to provide security, perform airplane maintenance, handle luggage, and assist people with disabilities, who earn as little as $8 to $9 per hour.

Thirty percent of these types of contracted workers at Logan Airport, located in East Boston, also live in the city of Boston.

Rocio Saenz, President of the Service Employees International Union Local 615, testified at the hearing added, “Although the airline contractors sign agreements to offer opportunities to residents of impacted communities, including East Boston, South Boston and Charlestown, we see no evidence that this is happening. Even these, poverty-wage jobs are out of reach for many residents of Boston communities who are out of work.”

Council President Stephen Murphy, who co-sponsored the measure, added, ‘Councilor Arroyo correctly puts forward the fact that many people are working and living in sub-poverty levels right here in our city in our international airport that serves our city.  Frankly, there is something we should do about it in the interest of fairness.”

Although MassPort declined the invitation to attend the hearing and testify, Councilor Arroyo read a statement from a spokesperson saying the matter could come under consideration when leases are renewed of the tenants who employ these workers.

Councilor Arroyo commented, “We are taking a stand on this issue because we are losing our middle class.  We must defend our middle class jobs so that everyone has the opportunity to make the American dream a reality.”