Alaska Airlines Loses Attempt to Block Vote on Good Jobs Initiative

Contact: Heather Weiner, heather (at) heatherweiner.com

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

SeaTac  – July 19, 2013: SeaTac voters and airport workers say they are not surprised Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association failed their legal attempt to block the SeaTac City Council from sending the Good Jobs Initiative to voters later this fall. Voters and community leaders continue to 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.

Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association tried to prevent SeaTac voters from voicing their opinions on a popular voter-backed initiative to bring good jobs to SeaTac Airport and related hospitality industries. Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association, represented by corporate law firm Davis, Wright, Tremaine, filed their demands last week.

Alaska failed to convince the judge to order the SeaTac city clerk to not transmit the citizens’ initiative to the SeaTac City Council on July 23rd.

“I’m appalled that Alaska Airlines tried 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.

The SeaTac City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday, July 23 to place the Good Jobs Initiative on the November ballot. Public testimony will precede Council action at the July 23rd City Council meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m.

The “Good Jobs” initiative, signed by more than 2,500 petitioners in SeaTac, provides targeted solutions for well-documented unfair working conditions at Sea-Tac Airport and in some of the larger airport-related businesses. (Alaska Airlines was recently punished with thousands in fines from the State Labor & Industries inspectors for allowing dangerous working conditions).

The SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative would bring Sea-Tac Airport in line with workforce standards already in effect at other west coast airports, as documented in the report Below the Radar issued in March 2013 by Puget Sound Sage.

The SeaTac measure would set basic employment standards for workers employed in the transportation, tourism and hospitality industries in SeaTac, including paid sick leave, full-time work for those who need it, a living wage of at least $15/hour, job security for employees when companies change contractors, and assurances that tips and service charges go to the workers who perform the service.

The measure would cover businesses in and around the airport, including airport baggage handling, passenger services, cabin cleaning, aircraft fueling, security, and retail stores, along with hotels, rental car and parking lot facilities. Small businesses are specifically exempt.

 

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