MSP director proposes raising airport workers' wage to $10 an hour

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After protests from workers and a call from Gov. Mark Dayton, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has revealed a proposal to increase its minimum wage to $10 an hour.

The Pioneer Press reports the airport's executive director, Jeff Hamiel, put forward the plan in a memo to the Metropolitan Airports Commission, suggesting the airport keep wages $1 above the $9-an-hour Minnesota's minimum wage will rise to in August.

The newspaper notes most of the airport's commissioners were appointed by Democrats and have been advocating for higher pay rates for MSP's lowest-paid workers. The proposal would affect any company operating at MSP that has more than 21 workers.

The Star Tribune reports 2,800 airport workers would be covered by the change, though the proposal has opposition from workers – who don't think $10 is enough – and airlines who think minimum pay should be set at state levels.

"It's better than nothing, but I don't think it's a living wage," wheelchair assistant Misrak Anbesse told the newspaper, which reports that some employees of airline subcontractors are forced to work two jobs to make ends meet.

Airport workers have been among those who have joined in protests around the Twin Cities calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

In March, Gov. Dayton called on airport vendors to pay workers at least $10 an hour, saying "they can afford it."

MPR notes the minimum wage would be implemented through new contract conditions between the Metropolitan Airports Commission and vendors licensed to operate at MSP, rather than through enacting an ordinance to set a minimum wage that would require a "lengthy" comment and approval process.

The proposal is due to be discussed at a meeting of the full airports commission on Monday. It would require approval by the chairman of the MAC and the 14-member commission.

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