Airline subcontractors now required to give workers sick leave

Airline subcontractors at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport must provide workers paid sick leave under a new airport policy.

In a unanimous vote, the Metropolitan Airports Commission voted Monday to approve the policy, which covers workers including cabin cleaners, cart drivers, and wheelchair assistants.

Starting Jan. 1, companies that employ workers including wheelchair assistants, cart drivers and cabin cleaners must give their employees an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours they work, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said.

Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan says the policy also provides some job security.

It also requires new subcontractors to retain a previous company's employees for at least 90 days, a change that will provide some job security to workers.

"We want to respect the fact that these are private companies under contract to other private companies," Hogan said. "But at the same time we want to make sure that the workforce out here doesn't have to come to work sick. We don't want them to spread disease either to other workers or to travelers who are here at the airport."

Hogan said the policy is not expected to result in additional costs to travelers.

The commission's decision follows a union-led protest Dec. 5, when several hundred people temporarily blocked traffic access to MSP's Terminal 1.

The Service Employees International Union is continuing to press for a $15 per hour minimum wage for airport workers along with union representation.

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