The Los Angeles City Council took the first step toward securing improved healthcare coverage for service workers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) by voting unanimously Wednesday, May 13th to draft an amendment to the Los Angeles “living wage” ordinance.
The proposed amendment would raise the living wage’s healthcare allotment in an effort to ensure airport workers have family healthcare coverage. The move would be the first change to the healthcare allotment since the passage of the ordinance in 1997.
Prior to the council vote, Councilmembers Bill Rosendahl and Janice Hahn joined the Reaching Higher for Healthcare Coalition at a press conference to support the vote in favor of the healthcare amendment.
Airport service workers are responsible for duties from cleaning and searching airplanes to assisting passengers in wheelchairs. A report released by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy found that 5,100 LAX workers and their family members lack employer-provided healthcare. Roughly 2,000 rely on public healthcare programs and 3,100 people, including 700 children, have no healthcare at all, the report found.
“Family healthcare for these workers will stabilize low-wage working families in a time of economic crisis and improve safety and service quality at the airport,” says Carolina Briones, author of the LAANE report. “The airlines can ensure family healthcare for their contracted workers for about 25 cents per passenger ticket.”