My name is Gurminder Kahlon; I am from India. In India I was a lawyer. Here I am a taxi Driver.
Because of taxi drivers like me, people traveling for business, medical reasons, and to visit family and friends get to Sea-Tac Airport conveniently and on time for their flights.
The Port of Seattle and the big corporate Airlines like Alaska depend on ground transportation services like taxi and shuttle drivers. And yet, we struggle to make a living. Just to have the privilege of picking up customers at our Airport, we pay fees to Yellow Cab and to the Port of Seattle. Before I start work on Monday morning, I am already hundreds of dollars in debt. I have to work 12 hours a day and 6 days a week just to make ends meet.
It’s not right. That’s why I’m standing together with all workers for fair pay and respect.
While you are sleeping I work though the dead of night on the graveyard shift cleaning aircraft cabins. My name is Inola Graham, and I work for DGS.
On the day shift, the cabin cleaners do a quick turnaround cleaning – important work to ready the cabin for the new passengers. But on the graveyard shift my crew and I do what is called deep-cleaning. I am constantly stressed and rushed to do a thorough cleaning of the entire plane from top to bottom in only 45 minutes.
It is a stressful job and managers don’t give us enough time to do a thorough cleaning of the entire plane. We are rushed and rushed and often I am forced to work for more than 5 hours without a break, food or drinking water. The air conditioning is off during the graveyard shift and the heat in the plane is stifling. Our equipment is in poor repair, electrical vacuum cords are taped together and spray bottles of cleaning fluid leak onto our faces and arms when we clean the overhead compartments. Can you imagine working while your arms are being burned by chemicals?
We work hard to make passengers comfortable and the cabins sanitary. Big companies like Alaska Airlines profit from my hard work. We should be treated with respect and make a living wage.
My name is Ikran Sheikh. I have worked at Sea-Tac cleaning airplane cabins 2008. I work hard making sure that Alaska Airlines cabins are clean.
But at the workplace, it feel like there is no respect, and nobody seems to value what you say. If you don’t speak English, you are treated like a donkey.
After three years of working graveyard shift I was finally transferred to days. After just six months, I was transferred back to graveyard. I think it was because my managers found out I was speaking out about the bad working conditions. When I complained, they told me if I don’t like it, I can turn in my badge — that means no more work.
I can’t afford to lose my job. I support my whole family on my hourly wages. That is why I am speaking out. Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle depend on the hard work of people like me. I am only one of the hardworking people at Sea-Tac that earn poverty wages. We deserve respect and fair wages.
My Name is Evelyn Olano. I work for FSS as a wheel chair agent. I am the person that makes sure passengers who need assistance make it to their gates on time for their flights.
I work hard. But I would like to take some time off to visit my family in the Philippines. Unfortunately I only qualify for paid vacation if I work 2,000 hours in a year. But with the 32 hours/week I am given, I can never get there because we lose our hours at the end of every year and have to start again from zero. I don’t know when I will get to see my family without losing pay or even my job because it seems like I could never earn enough time to actually qualify for a vacation.
The below letter to the editor was submitted to The Seattle Times in response to a recent article about the Legislative race between Port of Seattle Commissioner Gael Tarleton and Noel Frame.
To the editors:
I don’t understand what Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton could be talking about when she said that “as Port Commissioner she had pushed for increased employee safety standards” for airport workers (“Nuances rule in 36th District race between progressives Tarleton, Frame,” Oct. 24, 2012)…