JFK's Terminal 4 opens with fanfare and protestors
by Andrew Pavia
May 29, 2013 | 710 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped open the new Delta Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy Airport on Friday, protestors were chanting in the rain demanding better pay.

The $1.2-billion terminal will feature a 24,000-square-foot Sky Club with roof deck and extended security area. On Friday, while the opening ceremony was taking place, people were already lining up at Shake Shack in the new wing of the airport.

Walking through the terminal there are shops, bars and restaurants that resemble a mall more than they do an airport.

“I could give you a lot of facts but the terminal is awesome and we are going to keep investing in New York,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson, keeping his remarks brief.

With the expansion finished, Delta hopes to move all operations to Terminal 4 by 2015.

“Today’s opening of Terminal 4, I think, says two things loud and clear,” Bloomberg said. “Delta means a lot to New York City, and New York City means a lot to Delta.”

However, one group of people that wasn't happy about the new terminal were the workers protesting in the parking lot. While the issue wasn’t with Delta itself, union 32BJ organized the rally on behalf of workers at JFK airport demanding higher wages.

“The median wage for these service jobs at Kennedy and other Port Authority airports are between $8 and $9 an hour,” said Paul Sonn, legal co-director of the National Employment Law Project. “Those are really fast-food wages, and these are again for security guards and other people caring for this vital transportation infrastructure.”

The outcry is nothing new. Months ago workers protested in the same location about the same issue.

Prince Jackson, a resident of Jamaica and security officer with Air Serv who works on Delta flights in Terminal 3, said that he often has to eat at a local church pantry.

“This is no way to live,” he said. “To work full time and still wonder if you’ll have enough to pay your bills; to have to pick and choose which bill to pay and which to put off until next month.”

With Delta shutting down operations at Terminal 3, Jackson also fears he may also be out of a job. He said the last discussions with Air Serv management were in February.

“They are always saying that they don’t have the money and that’s why we can’t get a raise,” said Jackson. “But it’s absolutely untrue.”

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