March 10, 2023

Duckworth, Durbin Join Markey, García to Reintroduce the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act to Ensure Airport Service Workers Earn Living Wage, Benefits


[WASHINGTON, D.C.]—U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and U.S. Representative Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL-04) to reintroduce the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act, legislation to provide airport service workers—a predominantly Black, Brown, and immigrant workforce—with the wage and benefits that they deserve after serving on the frontlines of the nation’s aviation system during the COVID-19 pandemic, climate disasters and busy travel seasons. By increasing the pay of airport service workers, this legislation would also improve airports services and security, a victory for workers and passengers. On Tuesday, the Center for American Progress published a report on the low wages paid to airport service workers and urging Congress to take action to improve the labor standards for this workforce.


“Airport service workers are long overdue for a boost in wages and benefits because they’re the reason our airports can operate,” said Senator Duckworth. “I'm proud to join my colleagues to introduce the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act so these essential workers get everything they deserve.”


“Essential workers, especially airport service workers, keep our economy moving.  We rely on their skills and hard work, and in return, airport service workers should be compensated with a living wage and the benefits they deserve,” said Senator Durbin.  “I’m joining my colleagues to reintroduce the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act to keep a watchful eye on our nation’s airports and their treatment of airport workers, because everyone deserves adequate compensation for their labor.”

“From the tarmac to the gate, airport service workers are the glue that connects every part of the airport, the essential ingredient that keeps our bags moving and stomachs full,” said Senator Markey. “It’s impossible to overstate the contributions of these workers. When many passengers stayed home at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, airport service workers showed up to work. When passengers returned by the millions last year, these workers were still there doing their jobs day in and day out. And when airlines cancelled thousands of flights over the holidays, airport service workers were on-hand, doing their best to serve the passengers who had been stranded at the gate. I’m reintroducing the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act because it’s time that we show up for these workers the way they do for us, and deliver the pay and benefits they have earned. I thank my colleagues for their support on this bill, and I look forward to advancing it as part of FAA Reauthorization this year.”

“This bill is a part of our fight to ensure service workers are paid a living wage and receive high quality benefits,” said Representative Jesús “Chuy” García. “Last month, I met with my constituent Diana Ordaz Quezada, a service worker at Chicago’s Midway Airport. Diana and her colleagues want what all workers deserve, good paying jobs. Today, we continue the fight for and with the hard-working people that ensure our nation’s airports keep connecting communities and families.”

Specifically, the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act:

  1. Prevents small, medium, and large hub airports from accessing federal funds, unless airport service workers are paid the prevailing wage and benefits, as established by the Department of Labor;
  2. Requires airports to ensure that service workers employed by vendors (such as restaurants and retail stores) are paid the prevailing wage and benefits;
  3. Applies to $11 billion in airport funding each year, including $3.2 billion in Airport Improvement Program grants, $3.5 billion airports receive from passenger facility charges, and $4 billion in funds under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law;
  4. Includes a good-faith provision so that airports are not penalized if the Department of Transportation determines that the airport made a good-faith effort to comply with the prevailing wage and benefit standards.
  5. The Good Jobs for Good Airports Act is endorsed by SEIU, CWA, UNITE HERE, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, and the Transportation Trades Department.   

Cosponsors in the United States Senate include Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The full text of the legislation is available here.