SEA-TAC: On Sept, 7, dozens of faith leaders from local spiritual communities showed their support for airport workers, leading more than five hundred workers and community supporters in a march to Alaska Airlines. Their message: Make every airport job a good job.
The faith leaders brought that message directly to the airline’s corporate headquarters, where they presented a letter addressed to CEO Brad Tilden. The letter (see below) asks Tilden to fulfill a promise he made this spring to meet with workers employed by Alaska contractors and hear about the working conditions they face. “We call on you to partner with us and address this moral, economic and social injustice,” the leaders write. “Together we can stop the suffering.”
Sept. 7, 2012
Mr. Brad Tilden, President and CEO
Alaska Air Group
Dear Mr. Tilden,
We are faith leaders from throughout the Seattle area who share deep concern about the thousands of poverty-wage workers at Sea-Tac Airport. We are widely diverse, representing many faiths, yet we are united in this call to stand for justice.
We are writing to you, because you are the leader of a major airline at Sea-Tac Airport. We call on you to partner with us and address this moral, economic and social injustice. Together we can stop the suffering.
Every day at Sea-Tac, cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, fuelers, passenger service workers, cargo handlers and others help your customers and their luggage reach their travel destinations safety and securely. These airline-contracted workers labor with pride and professionalism. But we have come to learn in recent months that these workers are struggling in poverty-wage jobs. Most earn just above minimum wage. Many cannot afford healthcare; they have few if any benefits, and no job security.
Many of us have heard the stories of these workers, how many of them came to this country to live the American dream: To work hard, provide for their families, and give their children greater opportunity. Unfortunately, too many of them are struggling in 2 or even 3 jobs. They have little security or hope for economic advancement.
Alaska Airlines plays a major role in this. Your airline is by far the largest at Sea-Tac. Alaska is the major airline contracting with the companies that employ these workers. We believe you have both a moral and economic duty to help rectify the situation.
We write to you fully aware of the enormous role your company plays in our communities: Its overall significant economic impact as a major employer; its constructive collective bargaining relationship with the vast majority of your direct employees; its charitable work throughout the community.
Several of us attended the May, 2012 Alaska shareholders meeting, and were heartened to hear your commitment to meet with community leaders and workers to address the situation.
We urge you to fulfill that commitment now. We urge you to meet with us to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue to ensure justice for all Sea-Tac workers. Let’s work together to lift up the human spirit, adhere to the moral and just principals we all share, and ensure dignity for all who contribute to the success of our airport and Alaska Airlines.
Very truly yours,
Imam Bashir Aden, High Point Mosque
Dianne Aid, President, The Episcopal Network for Economic Justice
Don Bell, Chair of Community Service and Social Action Plymouth Congregational Church
Paul Benz, Director, Faith Action Network
Jonathan Betz-Zall, University Friends Meeting
Rev. Jan Bolerjack, Riverton Park United Methodist Church
Pastor Leslie Braxton, New Beginnings Fellowship
Rev. Dr. Sanford Brown, First United Methodist Church of Seattle
Rev. Zachary Bruce, Freedom Missionary Church
Sarah Davis, University of Washington Islamic House
William Demps, Paradise of Praise
Rev. Michael Denton, Pacific Northwest Conference Minister, United Church of Christ
Dr. Edward Donalson III, Apostle, Kingdom Family Worship Center
Dr. Ann El-Moslimany, Islamic School of Seattle
Brian Fentress, Kent Church of God of Nazarene
Rev. Canon Richard W. Gillett, Episcopal Church
Bishop Roland E. Hairston, Grace Apostalic Temple
John Hale, President, Northwest Interfaith Community Outreach
Mohammed Haroon, Islamic Center of Federal Way
Bishop Ivory Harris, God First Ministries
John Harris, Greater Works
Bishop Roland E. Hairston, Grace Apostolic
Imam Mohamed Sheikh Hassan, Afrique Service Center
Stephanie Hatley, Greater Works
Linda Haydock, Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center
Rev. John Helmiere, Minister of Listening and Convener, Valley and Mountain Fellowship
Patrick Higgins, St. Mary’s Parish
Brother Owais Jafrey, Masjid Umar Al-Farooq
Imam Abduqadir Jama, Al-Noor Mosque
Mohamed Jama, Abu-Bakr Islamic Center of Washington
Imam Mohamad Joban, Masjid Ar-Rahmah of Redmond, Muslim Association of Puget Sound
Mount Zion Baptist Church
Nasir Junejo, Muslim Association of the Northwest
Michelle Lang, Youth Pastor, Church By the Side of the Road
Rev. John-Otto Liljenstolpe, Rauschenbusch Center, Church Council of Greater Seattle
Lillian Lloyd, New Generation
Pastor Monica Myers, Northwest Christian Church
Basari Mohamath, Cham Refugee Community of Seattle
Josephine Tamayo Murray, Catholic Community Services
Ahmed Nadeem, Islamic Center of Eastside
Maria Ochoa, Seattle University Magis Program
Imam Yasir Omar, Altaqwa Islamic Center
Jackie O’Ryan, Co-Director, Faith Action Network
Patrick Pate, Paradise of Praise
Nicole Perkins, Grace Apostolic
Rev. Michael Ramos, Executive Director, Church Council of Greater Seattle
Adele Reynolds, Co-Chair of Social Action Committee, Plymouth Congregational Church
Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, 8th Bishop of Olympia, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia
Muktar Sado, Oromo Cultural Center
Steve Tate, Refreshing Springs
Jim Thomas, Archdiocese of Seattle
Erica Walker, Integrity Life Church
Rev. Kathleen Weber, Trinity United Methodist
Alice Woldt, former director, Faith Action Network
Rev. Angela Ying, Bethany United Church of Christ
Ezra Jordan II