Below the Radar

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.


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

Eaves-dropping on Alaska Airlines CEO, Brad Tilden

Did you ever wonder what goes on when the CEO of a big corporate airlines like Alaska Airlines reports directly to international investment companies about how the company is doing?

The way these calls usually work is a very official-sounding moderator ceremoniously first announces the CEO. After he paints a rosy picture of quarterly and, in this case, year-end earnings, the moderator solemnly announces each investor in turn for questions. This is when the formal tone breaks down. The investors and executive staff fall into a relaxed easy-going Q&A – often calling each other by first names. It sounds like old friends knocking back a few beers and slapping each other on the back congratulating each other for a job well done. Continue reading

Fired up about safety, Sea-Tac fuelers deliver a strike notice.

By Nathan Jackson

“This here is a broken gear shift,” Alex Popescu, an Aircraft Service International Group,(ASIG) fueler said pointing at a blown up picture of a 5,000 gallon fuel truck gear shift. “ASIG fixed it as you can see, with good ol’ duct tape.”

Alex pointing to a picture of the broken gear shift in a 5000 gallon fuel truck fixed by duct tape.

ASIG is a poverty wage contractor hired by Alaska Airlines. This contractor treats workers poorly requiring them to work with shoddy equipment.

When Sea-Tac fueler Alex Popescu brought up workplace safety issues like soft brakes and taped up gear shifts to ASIG management, they ignored him. When Alex brought his safety concerns to the Port of Seattle in public forums, and then reported a broken truck to his manager, ASIG suspended him.

Workers have had enough.

Continue reading

The Port of Seattle builds a swanky VIP lounge.

by Nathan Jackson

Arrivals Hall. Photo by Don Wilson.

The Port of Seattle and Alaska Airlines have entered a partnership to upgrade the north terminal to the tune of $230 million dollars. The port is paying the lion’s share, investing $194 million into the upgrade that will modernize facilities, improve seismic safety and even throw in an executive lounge for VIP customers.

It’s good that the Port wants to upgrade their facilities and improve the experience of the riders who will benefit. After all it’s been 40 years according to the joint press release since the terminal has seen any upgrades. But when was the last time poverty-wage workers in that terminal have had an update to their wages or working conditions?

Continue reading

On May 15th, tell Alaska Airlines: Let's make every airport job a good job.

Rally at Alaska Airlines Shareholder Meeting

May 15, 2012, 2:30 p.m.

Museum of Flight | 9404 East Marginal Way S, Seattle

Alaska Airlines profits are up and top executives are firmly among the top 1%. But Alaska is not sharing their success with the nearly 4000 Sea-Tac poverty-wage workers who make the company’s success possible.

Join workers, community members and faith leaders to tell Alaska Airlines’ Board of Directors to Make All Airport Jobs Good Jobs.