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

Port of Seattle meeting disrupted by hazardous situation—a work shirt.

by Thea Levkovitz

Sea-Tac airport fueler, Alex Popescu, sat down before the Port of Seattle Commission on Tuesday, reached into the trash bag he had brought and pulled out his jet fuel soaked work shirt. Every day, fueling Alaska Airlines planes with broken down hoses and equipment, his uniform and those of his co-workers get sprayed and soaked with jet fuel.

While he showed the panel an array of other safety issues, from dangerously damaged ladders to faulty nozzles, the fumes arising from his work shirt permeated the commission chamber. The smell got so bad that Alex had barely finished his short two minutes of testimony when he was told that he had to take his work clothing out of the room because it was a fire hazard.

Continue reading