New federal bill proposes improved compensation and benefits for airport workers.

Federal Bill Could Bring Better Pay and Benefits to Dallas Airport Workers

Dallas city officials are closely monitoring a proposal that could impact the labor standards and pay of airport service workers, including retail service workers, security officers, cleaning staff, and ticketing agents. The Good Jobs Good Airports Act was introduced in Congress last year and seeks to establish a minimum hourly pay of $15 and benefit standards for service workers in medium, large, and small hub airports.

The proposed bill would also require that airports annually submit compliance reports to the secretary of Transportation, demonstrating that they are paying their employees minimum wages and benefits. In the event of noncompliance, the airports risk being stripped of federal funding. Representatives from the Service Employees International Union in Texas met with Dallas’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in mid-March, urging the city to pass a resolution supporting the federal bill.

Elsa Flores, the president of the union, stated that many contracted workers at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport are without affordable health care or sick leave, resulting in a high turnover rate. Flores estimates that thousands of workers could be impacted by the bill. However, committee members raised questions at their April 17 meeting. Specifically, they wanted to know how the federal bill could impact Dallas Executive Airport in Oak Cliff and if there were other state bills filed tackling minimum wage.

Finally, answers came on Friday from Carrie Rogers, the director of the Office of Government Affairs. She noted that the Good Jobs Good Airports Act would not affect Dallas Executive Airport, as the airport is described by federal aviation law as a general aviation airport. Instead, it would impact Dallas Love Field and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Several other bills have been filed in Texas that seek to change minimum wage standards, including House Bills 1126, 737, and 1919.

The federal bill has been introduced and referred to committees but has yet to receive a hearing. Rogers cautioned that the Good Jobs Good Airports Act, as written, could create potential funding losses for the city. She added that the city’s Department of Aviation, federal legislative team, and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport are currently working together to determine a path forward for the proposed bill.

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