Redefining the Minimum Wage


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

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


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


Contact: Heather Weiner,

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


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

New violations by Alaska Airlines and its contractors for exposing workers to blood borne pathogens, caustic jet fuel and toxic chemicals

Contacts: Thea Levkovitz,

State investigators fine Alaska, contractors; total of 21 serious violations, $68,000 in fines

 SeaTac Airport –  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.

  • What:   Press conference: Community leaders and airport workers will announce citations and demand Alaska Airlines start taking   responsibility for the widespread  health and safety problems in its operations at Sea-Tac Airport
  • When:  TODAY, Friday, June 14, 2013, 9 AM
  • Where: Sea-Tac Airport, North end of departures level of the Main Terminal

The new L&I citations found that Alaska and its contractors maintained unsafe and unhealthy working conditions inside airplane cabins and with equipment used to service Alaska planes.

This is the second time in less than three months that Alaska’s contractors have been fined for serious health and safety violations, and now the airline itself has been cited and fined as well. The fines against Alaska and its cabin cleaning, fueling and passenger services contractors total more than $68,000.

L&I investigators cited Alaska Airlines and/or its contractors for a range of violations, including:

  • Failing to adequately protect cabin cleaners from exposure to blood, urine, feces and vomit and from needle-stick injuries;
  • Failing to inform and train cabin cleaners about the hazards of caustic and corrosive chemicals they were required to use while cleaning airplane interiors;
  • Failing to provide cabin cleaners with appropriate safety equipment such as goggles, face masks and gloves resulting in respiratory problems, skin rashes and damage to their vision;
  • Denying access to bathrooms and drinking water for extended periods of time;
  • Denying workers their lawful breaks and meal periods;
  • Failing to provide access to Hepatitis B vaccines to protect from exposure to bodily fluids;
  • Failing to provide proper time and training to deal with pathogens or to adequately clean and disinfect areas and equipment used by the public;
  • Failing to provide personal protective equipment to protect fuelers from exposure to Jet A Fuel;

In one graphic example, L&I cited Alaska’s cabin cleaning contractor for providing inadequate gloves to aircraft cabin cleaners. The gloves frequently tore or ripped, and, according to L&I:

“Workers were required to clear overflowing bathroom trash chutes by inserting their hand and arm into the chute to push waste through. Workers could encounter leaking used diapers, discarded syringes, and blood from leaking sanitary products during chute clearing.”

The L&I investigation was prompted last fall when more than 50 airline contract workers at Sea-Tac Airport, including fuelers, cabin cleaners and  wheelchair agents, filed  health and safety complaints with the state. Prior to filing the state complaints, contract workers had repeatedly sought to get the issues addressed directly by Alaska Airlines and its contractors. After those efforts at dialogue failed, the workers filed the complaints.  In April L&I issued citations and fines against Alaska’s passenger services contractor, Bags, Inc. These new citations – outlining 16 “serious” violations and 5 “general” violations – were issued against Alaska Airlines; Alaska’s cabin cleaning contractor, DGS; and Alaska’s fueling contractor, ASIG. Under state law, “serious violations” are issued when “there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result” if the problem is not fixed.  The fines against Alaska and the contractors for each serious violation ranged from $2,400 to $5,500 – twice to four times the normal fine level; the average fine for a serious violation, according to L&I, is $1,200.

Since filing the complaints, workers at several contractors have formed unions and called for negotiations with their employers and Alaska Airlines, to address a range of workplace issues. The airline and the employers have to date refused to recognize the workers’ unions and enter negotiations.

Click here to see the full L&I citation notice.

For additional information:

Working Washington, a Washington based non-profit coalition of individuals, neighborhood associations, immigrant groups, civil rights organizations, people of faith, and labor united for good jobs and a fair economy.