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Houston Airport Workers to Be Paid at Least $12 an Hour by 2021

Oct. 9, 2019, 8:48 PM

Airport workers in Houston would be paid at least $12 per hour by 2021, under an executive order signed Oct. 9 by Mayor Sylvester Turner (D).

The new city policy requires a “living wage” for airline and airport workers employed by companies doing business with the city. It covers hundreds of workers at Bush Intercontinental, Hobby, and Ellington airports, including those working for subcontractors to the airlines and concessionaires at the airports, Turner’s office said. The minimum wage would rise from the federal minimum wage of $7.25 to $10.39 in 2019, $11.22 in 2020, and $12 in 2021 and 2022 under contracts between the city and airport employers, according to the text of the order.

“Through our current and future contracts with airlines and airport businesses, we are ensuring that our highly rated airports retain high-quality, experienced workforces,” Turner said in a statement. “The 58 million-plus passengers who travel through our airports every year deserve no less.”

Among the workers affected are baggage handlers, catering workers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants, and other airport workers, the Service Employees International Union said in a separate statement. The order will raise wages for nearly 8,000 workers at Bush and Hobby airports, the SEIU said.

Air carriers such as United Airlines and airport concessionaires participated in discussions related to the executive order, the mayor’s office said. The order doesn’t restrict unions from bargaining for wages higher than the new minimums, it said.

“As one of Houston’s largest employers, United Airlines is committed to treating all of our employees fairly, providing them with competitive compensation and industry-leading benefits. As such, we are supportive of the Mayor’s proposal for an increased minimum wage,” United spokeswoman Rachael Rivas said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Louis C. LaBrecque in Washington at llabrecque@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Hardy at khardy@bloomberglaw.com