Workers at Los Angeles International Airport will see their wages increase to up to $15 an hour, according to a new contract reached in time to avoid a labor dispute that could have disrupted travel during the 4th of July weekend.
The contract, announced Tuesday, provides incremental wage hikes for about 2,500 cabin cleaners, baggage handlers and other LAX service workers. Wages for the newest employees will reach $9.90 an hour next July, and the longest-employed workers will get $15 an hour in January 2016.
The agreement also keeps in place workers' paid family health care benefits, sick days and vacation time.
Negotiations between the workers' union, SEIU-USWW, and the contractors that hire workers for airlines such as American, Delta, United and Southwest have been under way for about two months, union spokesman Jacob Hay said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose office was also involved in the negotiations, said the contract allows LAX to remain "a competitive economic engine."
The union called the contract "a first in the nation" and said it establishes funding for service workers to receive emergency response training, "a key step toward towards promoting airport safety and security."
SEIU-USWW organized demonstrations at LAX to demand higher wages and protection of benefits during the bargaining period. In the last march on June 19, eight people were arrested when about 1,000 workers and union members converged outside the airport administration building.