Living Wages for Airport Workers?

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1974 ... January 12, 2020
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Living Wages for Airport Workers?

Steven Tufts

The 2018 increase in Ontario’s hourly minimum wage to $14 was perhaps the most substantial victory for low-wage workers in decades, including workers at Pearson International Airport.

In a recent survey, it was found that 1 in 5 of the airport’s 50,000 workers earns minimum wage. The Fight for $15 and Fairness continues the struggle, confronting a Conservative government that cancelled the scheduled increase to $15 per hour and froze minimum wage for a decade when last in power.

It may be time to “rescale” approaches to raising minimum wages. The province is the primary regulator of labour standards, the exception being federally regulated industries, such as air transportation.

The Trudeau government is considering a new federal minimum wage, breaking with the tradition of matching provincial rates. Any increase that challenges the Doug Ford regime would be welcomed by federally regulated workers in Ontario. If the Conservatives do, however, take power federally we can predict how short-lived these gains may be.

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