As the year came to an end, Governor Cuomo was busy signing the Healthy Terminals Act. This bill was passed by the NYS Legislature in July 2020 to provide ‘covered airport workers’ supplemental hourly wage increases of at least $4.54 to offset healthcare costs.
There are some asking questions about whether the Healthy Terminals Act will lead to an unhealthy airport employer financial statement in the process of lifting up our essential airport workers. In addition to the PANYNJ annual wage increases, adding this additional payroll cost will certainly stress some business owners and airport tenants during this already difficult time.
What is known is that as employer costs rise, prices to both aviation related goods and services as well as non-aviation products and services will also rise. The bill has drawn opposition from the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of New York State, who argue that it’s a government mandate that will bankrupt airlines who already are in dire straits.
The Times Union, Albany’s daily newspaper said in an editorial; “And now, just as the industry is teetering on the brink of insolvency, New York lawmakers are poised to push it over the edge with an employer health care mandate that could have the complete opposite result of its sponsors’ intent, causing a loss of good-paying jobs and the current insurance coverage they provide.”
The SEIU in a statement said; The NY Healthy Terminal Act (S6266/A8142) is a bill that will require employers to provide benefits supplements compensation that tens of thousands of workers at New York’s transportation hubs can use to acquire quality healthcare they desperately need. It is time that highly profitable airlines provide a path to affordable health insurance so these important members of our community can take care of their health while they serve the public.
In his bill-signing memo, Governor Cuomo said that he supported making health care affordable for airport workers, and that union contracts already had increased their minimum wages before the legislation. Under the negotiated changes, employers at the two New York City airports will pay an hourly rate toward their workers’ qualified health insurance plans, he wrote.
It should also be noted that this modified Bill, as signed by Governor Cuomo, has omitted Stewart Airport workers.
Read the commentary, “Will the Healthy Terminals Act Lead to Unhealthy Airport Employer Financial Statements?“, by Joseph Alba, Editor-in-Chief, Metropolitan Airport News, .