LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers’ Association, which represents the sworn police officers and firefighters of the Los Angeles Airport Police Department assigned to protect and serve Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY), released the following statement regarding California Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of the California Fair Pay Act:
With California Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, the California Fair Pay Act became law and that puts a glaring spotlight on Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA), the City of Los Angeles and continued blatant disparities in pay and benefits of its female Airport Police Officers.
The idea behind the California Fair Pay Act was to level the ground between female and male employees performing similar jobs. It puts into place protections prohibiting employers, like LAWA or the City of Los Angeles, from paying any of its employees wages less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for similar work.
Currently LAWA’s most senior officer assigned to the elite Los Angeles Airport Police K-9 Unit is a Police Officer III K-9 handler who exceeds both the training and experience of her LAPD male counterparts. A 16-year department veteran, she is also a canine trainer for the department’s Homeland Security Section (HSS) but makes far less than her own trainees who have less seniority and ranking but are assigned from the LAPD to the same unit.
Similarly, in the department’s specialized joint Crime Task Force (CTF) Unit, female detectives with more seniority, training, and experience find themselves making less in pay and benefits than their lesser ranked male counterparts assigned to the same unit from the LAPD—men who they train.
An ignored 2012 report from Los Angeles Employee Relations Board fact-finder Ronald Hoh found that it is not unreasonable for Airport Police Officers to expect wage levels highly similar to those received by sworn LAPD officers. This is particularly so in view of the City and department’s political decision to have LAPD officers working side-by-side in department jobs with sworn officers from the LAXPD.
Airport Police Officers are substantially behind the comparability group average in wages and total compensation for law enforcement officers in Los Angeles County—a fact that LAWA did not dispute at the time. LAWA has never disagreed that it has the ability to pay for the wage and benefit increases. It is common knowledge that the department receives no City dollars and is fully funded by airline passenger and cargo fees. All salaries and benefits paid to police officers from both agencies, the LAXPD and LAPD, assigned to LAX are fully paid or reimbursed by LAWA and not the City of Los Angeles.
The report concluded that the “equal pay for equal work” concept is particularly appropriate in view of the side-by-side work performed by Airport Police Officers and officers from the LAPD with the fact-finder going as far as to state on the record that it’s hard to imagine better circumstances for the use of an employee organization argument for the concept of “equal pay for equal work.
The State of California moved forward this week in ensuring that women are paid equal wages to their male counterparts. In 2015 and in a city like Los Angeles where there shall be political correctness and equality for all, there is no reason female police officers should make less than their male counterparts. There’s no reason Airport Police Officers should make less than their LAPD counterparts assigned to the same airport to work and doing the same job.
We commend Governor Brown on his bold vision for wage equality in California. The City of Los Angeles and LAWA need to take a page from his play book and pay all police officers assigned to the airport regardless of agency, female and male equal pay for equal work. Because fair is fair.