Seattle Mayor and Sea-Tac Airport Worker Urge American Cities to Lead the Fight to Raise Wages

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(Originally posted here) By Keiana Greene-Page

Seattle Mayor and Sea-Tac Airport Worker Urge American Cities to Lead the Fight to Raise WagesPHOTO: Mayor Ed Murray, Sea-Tac airport worker Socrates Bravo.

“Please take what we did in Seattle and export it across the country,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told a crowd Wednesday during a panel discussion on the minimum wage at the Center for American Progress.
Also speaking at the CAP event was SeaTac Airport worker Socrates Bravo. He says the national minimum wage debate is about more than finances; it’s about families. Continue reading

We Demand $15!

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4700 workers at the airport have lost nearly $15 Million in wages in the last year because Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle said “nope” to the $15 initiative fought for by airport workers and approved by the voters of SeaTac.

Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle sued and blocked $15. So airport workers,
Seattle fast food workers, and community allies came to the airport with a message.

Airport workers worked too hard to get a living wage with job protections, paid
sick leave, and full time work. So as we made our way to the Port of Seattle
meeting we brought with us a simple message: “SeaTac Voted, We Won, We
Demand $15.” Continue reading

GROUNDED

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We entered the SIFF Film contest sponsored by Alaska Airlines: “Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Check out the film Alaska Airlines executives won’t want you to see.

Grounded is a film produced by airport workers and community allies and submitted by Working Washington to the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival’s “Explore. Dream. Discover” film competition sponsored by Alaska Airlines. http://www.siff.net/alaskafilm

 

We’re on the march for $15/hour and justice

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Two groups of airport workers and community supporters took it right to their employers, Extra Car Park and Air Serv, demanding better wages and working conditions.

Extra Car Park isn’t paying their workers the $15/hour that the people of SeaTac voted for and is trying to intimidate workers who are standing up for what they deserve. When Extra Car workers filed complaints with the City of SeaTac, their boss started firing them. We all aren’t going to put up with that.

Extra Car workers, other airport workers, Teamsters, SEIU members and other allies marched in front of Extra Car’s parking lot waving signs, yelling and calling management out for their shady treatment of their workers. WP_20140326_033

“Shame! Shame! You’ve gone too far, Extra Car!”

Extra Car management tried to push us, literally, off of the public sidewalk and tried to encourage cars to drive right through us as we marched. We still didn’t back down.

Later in the day, workers announced they’ve filed a class-action lawsuit against Extra Car. Through street heat, organizing and legal action, we’ll win justice at Extra Car! Continue reading

Citing safety concerns, Menzies’ workers deliver a petition

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A delegation of eight leaders presented to Menzies management a petition signed by more than 250 Menzies workers, demanding proper clothing, safety equipment and a functioning first aid kit. Menzies workers after 031414 action(1)

We talked about the Menzies-provided jackets that tear easily and the nearly empty, not maintained first aid cabinets. We also shared pictures showing workers’ hands swollen, lacerated and bandaged due to lifting and moving tons of baggage daily without the proper protection.

Eric summed up the action.

“Our action was exciting and I’m sure it’s making our management uncomfortable. Most of us who work at Sea-Tac Airport are dealing with the same types of problems as LAX and PDX so we’re all in the same boat. We’re going to continue fighting for fair working conditions at Sea-Tac Airport and good luck to the workers in LAX and PDX in your fight.”

Redefining the Minimum Wage

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SeaTac’s Proposition 1 has passed! This proposition will bring living wages, paid sick leave and the right to organize to over 6000 airport workers at the Sea-Tac Airport.

It was a hard fought election that garnered National and International news attention.

Here is an article from the editorial board of the New York Times, putting the vote in SeaTac into perspective. (Just a snippet below, but read the full article here: Redefining the Minimum Wage.)

Redefining the Minimum Wage

Business has been brisk at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, with a record number of passengers spending record amounts of money eating and shopping. But for an estimated 6,500 workers at the airport and its nearby hotels, car rental agencies and parking lots, the activity has not translated into economic security, let alone prosperity. Wages for airport-related jobs average an estimated $11 an hour, ranging from less than $10 an hour for airline contractors, like baggage handlers and cabin cleaners, to about $13 an hour for car-rental employees. Continue reading

Yes for SeaTac – What is Proposition 1?

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yesforseatacrep

  1. Puts Our Health and Safety First: Right now, many employees working in and around our airport must make a choice go to work sick, or lose their pay. Prop 1 provides up to 6.5 days of paid sick leave for fulltime airport employees, preventing the spread of dangerous disease and keeping our families and community safe. (Proposition 1, Section 7.45.020)
  2. Creates Full-Time Jobs: Right now, many of the big overseas and multinational corporations working at the airport are gaming the system, providing more part-time jobs with low pay we can’t live on. Prop 1 encourages airport-related businesses to employ full time workers, creating jobs our neighbors can count on to make ends meet. (Proposition 1, Section 7.45.030)
  3. Ensures Tip Fairness: Right now, many hotels and restaurants in SeaTac pocket the tips and service charges that many guests and customers believe go to their servers. Prop 1 requires SeaTac hotels and hotel restaurants to do the right thing and give tips and service charges to the employees who perform the actual services. (Proposition 1, Section 7.45.040)
  4. Boosts SeaTac’s Economy by allowing more of our family, neighbors and friends to buy locally: Prop 1 ensures that SeaTac residents employed at and around the airport can receive a living wage of $15 helping them make ends meet. Because thousands of local employees will now have more money to buy locally, it’s estimated that Proposition 1 will create 412 new jobs , with millions of additional dollars pumped into SeaTac’s struggling economy.

Continue reading

SeaTac family business, Bull Pen Pub, appears in television ad Prop 1 endorsed by growing list of SeaTac small businesses

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SeaTac, WA – Voters in SeaTac may see a new television ad featuring someone they already know – Don Liberty, owner of the Bull Pen Pub in SeaTac.  Don Liberty, who has owned the Bull Pen Pub for more than 30 years, stars in the Yes For SeaTac Proposition 1 ad. The ad is scheduled to begin showing today on cable television stations in the SeaTac media market.

In the television ad, Liberty says “As the owner of the Bull Pen Pub, I’m proud that our employees are like family and everyone is paid a fair wage.  The big corporations at the airport should be paying fair pages too. That’s why I support Proposition 1.  Prop 1 puts more money in the pockets of airport employees so they can support small businesses here.  And it exempts businesses like mine that are outside the airport.  Yes on Proposition 1. For all of SeaTac.”

Continue reading

Twenty leading Democrats endorse SeaTac Proposition 1 SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative gaining momentum

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SeaTac, WA – Twenty leading Democrats including U.S. Representative Adam Smith, King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Councilmember Julia Patterson, and State Senator Karen Keiser are announcing their strong support and endorsement of SeaTac Proposition 1, on this fall’s election ballot. The Speaker of the State House, Frank Chopp, and the State Democrats, King County Democrats and the 33rd District Democrats also endorsed SeaTac Proposition 1.

U.S. Representative Adam Smith (9th District) said: “I grew up in the SeaTac area, my father worked in the SeaTac area — he was a ramp serviceman for United Airlines, where he got decent wages and benefits at his blue collar job. That enabled me to pursue my hopes and dreams, and that’s what I want for everyone in society as well. Equality of opportunity — a chance at creating that middle class life and I’m very worried that we’re losing that. That’s why I’m supporting SeaTac Proposition 1 – to bring back decent paying jobs at the airport and give thousands of our region’s families a fair shot at success.” Continue reading

Yes! For SeaTac supporters not surprised multinational corporations back in court Opposition trying to overturn King County and City’s certificates of sufficient signatures

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Contact: Heather Weiner, heather@heatherweiner.com

SeaTac – August 27, 2013: SeaTac voters and employees at Sea-Tac Airport say they are not surprised multinational airport corporations are back in court trying to block residents from casting their votes on SeaTac Proposition 1 this November.  SeaTac Proposition 1 would inject millions of dollars into the local economy and create good middle class jobs at the airport and related industries.

Yes! For SeaTac supporters say they are planning to appeal a King County judge’s order overturning King County and the City of SeaTac’s certificates of sufficiency for the SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative, also known as SeaTac Proposition 1.

Earlier this summer, King County Elections, the SeaTac City Clerk and the SeaTac Petition Review Board all agreed that SeaTac voters had turned in more than enough valid signatures to put the initiative on the November ballot.  Determined to stop SeaTac voters from casting their ballots, Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association went back to court.

Yesterday afternoon Yes! For SeaTac submitted another 250 petition signatures from SeaTac voters, pursuant to SMC 1.10.140(F), which specifies that supporters have ten days in which to amend the petition by filing additional signed petitions.

The “Good Jobs” initiative was signed by more than 2,500 petitioners in SeaTac earlier this year and in July the SeaTac City Council voted unanimously to send the citizens’ initiative to the November ballot.  Big airlines, rental car companies, the Washington Restaurant Association and other multinational and overseas corporations have already contributed close to $250,000 to overturn this citizen-led initiative, attempting to maintain a rigged system that benefits their own bottom line at the expense of hard working SeaTac families.

SeaTac Proposition 1:

Boosts SeaTac’s Economy: Other West Coast airport communities with similar laws setting livable wages are thriving with new businesses and more families buying local.
Puts Our Health and Safety First: Paid sick leave for airport employees prevents the spread of diseases, keeping our families and community safe.
Creates Full-Time Jobs: Incentives for airport-related businesses to employ full time workers creates jobs our neighbors can live on.
Ensures Tip Fairness: Requires hotels and restaurants give tips and service charges to employees who perform the actual services.

SeaTac Voters Appalled By Alaska Airlines’ Attempt to Block Vote on Good Jobs Initiative

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Alaska Airlines, WA Restaurant Association seek to stop SeaTac vote on living wage, paid sick leave

SeaTac  – July 15, 2013: SeaTac voters and airport worker supporters reacted sharply to the news that Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the SeaTac City Council from sending the Good Jobs Initiative to voters later this fall. Voters and community leaders question the corporations’ motivation in blocking a popular citizen initiative that will give workers in and around the airport the opportunity to make ends meet and get ahead.

The lawsuit from Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association asks the King County Superior Court to prohibit “the City of SeaTac and the City Clerk from taking any further steps to place the proposed Ordinance before the City Council for action or any other steps to forward the proposed Ordinance to King County for placement on a ballot for any election.”

“I’m appalled that Alaska Airlines is trying to stop SeaTac citizens from being able to vote on the good jobs initiative. What are they afraid of? Why don’t they want to share the success of the company with me and my community?” asked Chris Smith, a SeaTac resident and worker at Sea-Tac Airport. Continue reading

State Investigators Fine Alaska Airlines, Contractors; Total Of 21 Serious Violations, $68,000 In Fines.

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NEW VIOLATIONS BY ALASKA AIRLINES AND ITS CONTRACTORS FOR EXPOSING WORKERS TO BLOOD BORNE PATHOGENS, CAUSTIC JET FUEL AND TOXIC CHEMICALS.

FULL COPY OF ALASKA AIRLINES AND CONTRACTORS CITATIONS AND NOTICES

SeaTac Airport – June 14, 2013 -  The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has issued new citations for multiple serious health and safety violations against Alaska Airlines and two of its contractors for failing to protect workers from exposure to corrosive cleaning chemicals, caustic jet fuel, blood borne pathogens, and body fluids including vomit, urine, feces and blood. The 17 new serious violations just
announced by L&I, which follow state citations against another Alaska contractor earlier this spring, bring the total for Alaska and its Sea-Tac contractors to 21 serious health and safety violations.

FULL COPY OF ALASKA AIRLINES AND CONTRACTORS CITATIONS AND NOTICES

Sea-Tac passengers tweeting from the baggage carousel to support poverty-wage baggage handlers

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New “First class, coach class, poverty class” ads call on @AlaskaAir to #raisethewage as low-wage worker unrest continues at our airport

Beginning this week, Sea-Tac passengers waiting at the baggage claim, smartphones in hand, will see a new ad which enlists them to tweet @AlaskaAir to #raisethewage for baggage handlers and thousands of other poverty-wage workers at our airport.

Standing out from among the more typical airport ads asking passengers to use a particular limo service, stay in a downtown hotel, or support the Gates Foundation, the new “First class, coach class, poverty class” ads — appearing at all 16 carousels — enlist passengers to use their smartphones to tell Alaska Airlines to do something to improve the poverty-class wages and working conditions at our airport. Continue reading

Video: Low wage workers at Sea-Tac fight for good jobs and safety

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screencap2Behind a giant banner simply reading “UNION!” poverty-wage airport workers, faith leaders and community members marched down Pacific Avenue towards Alaska Airlines Global HQ. Reverend John Helmiere of Valley and Mountain United Methodist Church, wearing the white collar of his faith, glanced over at the over-sized letter informing the airline that these workers have formed a union, and then knocked on the locked glass doors.

Poverty-wage airport workers march on Alaska Airlines

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Behind a giant banner simply reading “UNION!” poverty-wage airport workers, faith leaders and community members marched down Pacific Avenue towards Alaska Airlines Global HQ. Reverend John Helmiere of Valley and Mountain United Methodist Church, wearing the white collar of his faith, glanced over at the over-sized letter informing the airline that these workers have formed a union, and then knocked on the locked glass doors.

Thousands of workers at Sea-Tac Airport are paid poverty wages. These are the cabin fireduptestcleaners, ramp workers, fuelers, skycaps and wheelchair agents. They serve the customers of Alaska and other major airlines with dignity and respect–something unreturned by their employers.

Spencer a worker for Menzies, a poverty-wage contractor Alaska hires to handle its customers’ baggage, wiped his hands on his jeans, stood in front of the Alaska Airlines HQ sign and took the microphone from the TV reporter’s hand. Continue reading

Below the Radar

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Puget Sound Sage has released its latest report Below the Radar:How Sea‑Tac Airport’s substandard working conditions hurt our region and how other major airports changed course toward growth and prosperity.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Many travelers are unaware of the work it takes to fly in and out of Sea-Tac Airport safely, comfortably and with all their belongings. The people who handle baggage, clean cabins and provide assistance for the elderly and passengers with disabilities are essential to the quality of this experience, yet they endure poor wages, benefits and working conditions.

The consequences and their underlying causes are below the radar of the public and policy makers.

It does not have to be this way. Continue reading

Our day in court for $15 for SeaTac!

“We’ve waited six months for this,” Reverend Jan Bolerjack said into the gathered TV cameras on the steps of the capitol building in Olympia. “Sea-Tac Airport workers need the $15 they fought for. There is no reason they should be working full time and still have to come to my church and use our food bank. Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle need to do the right thing.”

Last November, airport workers pushed for and won a $15 minimum wage at Sea-Tac Airport. Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle sued blocking over $15 MILLION in wages for 4700 families. On June 26th the Washington State Supreme Court was hearing final arguments in the $15 for SeaTac case —and we were out in force to show our support for airport workers getting the wages they deserve.

“This isn’t just about Sea-Tac Airport,” said Tina Cummins a PDX worker who came up for the hearing. “We in PDX support you. We all deserve living wages and that’s why I came here today.” Continue reading

Join us June 26th: We are going to Olympia for $15 for SeaTac!

Fast food and other low wage workers just made history by pushing Seattle City Councilmembers to pass a $15 minimum wage for the city — inspired by the Sea-Tac Airport workers who passed $15 for SeaTac.

Unfortunately in SeaTac, Alaska Airlines, the Port of Seattle, and other big businesses have blocked the full implementation of the measure in SeaTac in the courts. They’ve kept thousands of families from getting the $15 wages they deserve.

But now we can do something about it. Continue reading