News Department

Governor Murphy signs the Healthy Terminals Act

NEWARK, NJ (Essex County) – Governor Phil Murphy Thursday signed the Healthy Terminals Act (S989) which creates new minimum wage and benefits requirements for certain Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Newark Liberty International Train Station workers.

The legislation will expand access to livable wages and affordable health care for workers at the airport and train station who often cannot afford employer-provided health care plans.

“For a long time, we have heard the concerns and often desperate pleas from airport workers for access to affordable health care and for wages that allow them to support themselves and their families,” Murphy said. “This legislation provides workers at Newark Airport the dignity, respect, and treatment that they deserve. These men and women have selflessly been serving through the COVID-19 pandemic as critical infrastructure workers, and I am proud to sign this legislation that will finally provide them with the health care and compensation that they need and have fought for.”

The bill, S989, requires covered airport and train station employees to be paid wage rates that are at least the wages set under the federal prevailing wage law for building service employees. The bill further requires supplemental benefits equal to those designated by the Commissioner of Labor pursuant to determinations made by the General Services Administration under the federal McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act of 1965.

The bill provides that, on and after September 1, 2021 and every year thereafter, the prevailing wage rate applicable to a covered employee may not be less than the following:

  • any minimum wage rate established through a policy of the Port Authority; and
  • an amount of wages or supplements equal to the rate designated by the Commissioner of Labor based on the federal prevailing wage for the geographic region based on federal contracting laws.

“When this bill was introduced, we did not know that we were headed into an unfathomable threat to our lives, our health and our livelihood. COVID-19 hit us hard, making access to healthcare for our members a matter of life or death,” said Kyle Bragg, President of SEIU 32BJ. “Passing this law is a major landmark in the long journey to justice that airport workers have traveled. With the signing of the law, we are one step closer towards a fair contract and the conditions all workers at Newark International deserve.”

“Governor Murphy has championed 32BJ members overall, and airport workers especially, since day one. We are glad that our legislature and the Governor recognize that the Healthy Terminals Act makes sense: it’s good for workers, it’s good for passengers, AND it’s good for the airlines,” said Kevin Brown, Vice President and New Jersey Director for SEIU 32BJ. “When we invest in the workforce that fuels one of New Jersey’s largest economies, we have healthier people, and a healthier airport. Making this a reality in New Jersey is a great milestone in the fight for justice and equality.”

“Today is a great day for thousands of workers who were hit the hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The last year has taught all of us just how important quality healthcare care is, and today these workers and their families can look forward to a future with a much stronger healthcare safety net,” said Unite Here Local 100 Secretary-Treasurer Jose Maldonado. “I want to thank Governor Murphy for helping to improve the lives of airport workers.  I also thank Senator Sweeney and Speaker Coughlin for their leadership in getting this bill passed.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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