Bob Hope Airport

Bob Hope Airport workers are slated to see a $14% pay increase in the first year of their contract, 8% in the second year and 3% in the final year. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

The first labor contract covering maintenance workers at Bob Hope Airport went into effect on Friday, giving hefty wage increases to the employees over the next three years.

Workers will see a $14% pay increase in the first year of the contract, 8% in the second year and 3% in the final year, airport spokesman Victor Gill said.

The sharp wage increases reflect just how low the local maintenance wages were compared to other airports in the state, said Gavin Koon, a representative of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 501.

“They were significantly underpaid,” he said. “This contract puts them close to parity with what is paid at other airports,” he said.

During a recent meeting of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, Commissioner Terry Tornek pointed to the increased wages as he listed the financial challenges facing the airport over the next fiscal year.

“Some of the employee wages have gone up very significantly,” he said.

Koon said pension benefits were also improved under the inaugural maintenance agreement.

The new contract places the maintenance workers in the same pension program as management, and there are now 401K matches, Koon noted.