An open letter to the Port of Seattle Commissioners

Dear Port of Seattle Commissioners,

I was shocked to hear that you and your fellow Port Commissioners are going to take time this week to discuss giving yourselves a sevenfold raise. I simply can’t believe you’ve included this on your agenda when you have failed to do anything to improve pay and working conditions for the thousands of poverty-wage workers at our airport and seaport.

Your priorities need to change.

I agree that the Commission needs to provide better oversight of our airport and seaport. And I agree that attracting a higher caliber of elected commissioners is part of making that happen. Continue reading

Port commissioners should get a raise – only when we all do

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Union Coalition Supports Call for Salary Increase for Port Commissioners 
But raise should be conditioned on Port first certifying that all jobs at airport and seaport also pay living wages

Unions representing workers at the Port of Seattle believe everyone who works at our port deserves a living wage. For that reason, we support increasing the pay of Port Commissioners to the $42,000/year level proposed by Commissioner Albro — but only when all workers at our airport and seaport are paid living wages as well.

Today, there are about 4,000 people who are paid poverty wages for their work at Port of Seattle facilities, including the people who handle bags and clean aircraft cabins at Sea-Tac, those who transport passengers safely to and from the airport, and the truck drivers who move goods at our seaport. These workers have difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs, yet they typically are paid less than $10/hour — barely $20,000 a year if they work full-time. Continue reading

Airport workers are fed up.

By Nathan Jackson

Airport workers have been fighting for better work treatment for months now; workers and community members are still taking action to make every airport job a good job.

Workers for Menzies, a low wage contractor hired by Alaska Airlines handles bags for passengers. Workers, for months now have been asking for better wages, fair treatment and a voice in their workplace. The company has ignored them. The workers and community members have had enough and we marched on the Menzies HR office and demanded to be heard.

A security guard tried to force us to leave, but we held our ground. We’ve been ignored for long enough and they would listen to us this time. We were many and we were all in this together. Some of the workers were from different companies and different jobs. They know that when the workers get together in solidarity that is when real change can happen.

The manager on duty finally came out of the office and immediately launched into a “blah blah blah this is a private business, blah blah get outta here” type of speech, but he was interrupted by a Menzies worker.

“I work for Menzies,” said Ulysses. “I have every right to be here and you guys just haven’t listened to us when we go through our managers. So we’re here right now, together.”

The manager stopped using talking points and started to listen.
Continue reading