Workers & community leaders push for fair treatment after contractor re-shuffle leaves experienced skycaps without their jobs.
“Decades,” the young woman said, shaking her head as she looked at the flyer a worker handed her. The flyer laid out the situation of 3 long-time skycaps who were recently informed they were going to lose their own jobs just because Delta Airlines decided to re-shuffle the contractors they pay to provide skycap services to their passengers.
Hosea Wilcox has served Sea-Tac travelers as a skycap for decades: 31 years in fact. Alejandro Geracio for 22 years. And Baltazar Pineda for 19 years. After decades of service, these workers deserve more than a pink slip. And yet all 3 recently learned they are going to lose their own jobs — not through any fault of their own, but simply because Delta Airlines has decided to re-shuffle the low-bid contractors that provide passenger services to travelers.
Hosea Wilcox in particular had become a familiar face to thousands of airline passengers, after a 31-year career as a skycap and a prominent role in advertisements highlighting the prevalence of poverty-wage jobs at SeaTac. Now Hosea is dramatizing another unfortunate reality of employment at SeaTac: Thousands of contracted workers are at risk of losing their jobs when airlines decide to change contractors.
That’s why airport workers, people of faith, and community leaders are taking action.
In late May, a delegation of nearly 30 crowded into to the office of the new contractor to ask that Hosea, Alejandro and Baltazar get their jobs back. We managed to get a manager on the phone, but we didn’t get much of an answer.
We know that the contractors aren’t the real decision-makers in the airport economy — it’s the big corporate airlines. The airlines are the ones who hire the contractors, they’re the ones who set the rules, they’re the ones whose passengers the skycaps serve, and they’re the ones who have the power to make sure every job at our airport is a good job.
That’s why our next stop was to send a bigger delegation of workers and community leader to take the skycaps’ case directly to Delta Airlines. We occupied their ticket counter and asked to speak to the airline’s top-ranking local decision maker on contracting operations — their Sea-Tac Station Manager, Roy Tschumi. Like a game of tennis, Delta lobbed its responsibility to workers back to the contractor, sending out representatives from their passenger services subcontractor. These representatives politely received the delegation’s letter to Delta, but they said little and promised less.
That’s not good enough.
So we continued to increase the pressure on June 8th, when 40 workers and community leaders circled around Delta Ticket Counter and curbside skycap station with some special luggage that had signs attached calling on Delta to ensure these experienced skycaps get more than a pink slip.
We successfully got the attention of passengers and employees in the crowded terminal. After more than an hour of peaceful parading workers packed up their luggage and chanted “We’ll be Back!” And we will be back — we’ll continue to persistently, peacefully call on Delta and its contractors to give these workers their jobs back. Stay tuned for our next steps in the days ahead.
And in the meantime, call Delta Station Manager Roy Tschumi at 206-988-7499. Tell him to make sure that Hosea Wilcox, Alejandro Geracio and Baltazar Pineda get their jobs back.