Labor unions are applauding a measure given final passage Wednesday that is meant to boost the pay for workers at New York airports and improve their health care benefits. 

The legislation comes as the airline industry has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers say many airport workers cannot get health insurance through their jobs or have lost coverage during the pandemic. 

The measure would require airport workers be paid the prevailing wage by airport contractors by September 2021. 

“New York’s airports are some of the most heavily trafficked in the world, putting our airport employees on the frontlines of this global health crisis,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Now more than ever, these essential workers deserve the protections needed to ensure that they are compensated fairly and have access to health care.”

The measure's approval was applauded by the influential labor union 32BJ SEIU. The union said many airport workers during the pandemic have worked through the crisis without proper personal protective equipment and many of them are workers of color. 

“Thousands of sub-contracted airport workers from all backgrounds have fought for years to transform these low-wage jobs into family sustaining jobs with good benefits that strengthen our communities and economy,” said 32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg. “Essential airport workers secure terminals, sanitize planes, keep passengers safe and our economy running."