Worker unrest continues at Sea-Tac Airport

Media Release for March 26, 2013, Contact:  Thea Levkovitz, Thea@workingwa.org 

Worker unrest continues at Sea-Tac Airport…

Poverty-wage airport workers to announce union and march on Alaska Airlines headquarters

1,000+ form unions for good jobs and living wages

(Tuesday, March 26) Sea-Tac Airport workers will announce today that more than 1,000 poverty-wage cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, wheelchair assistants, and skycaps have formed unions for good jobs and living wages. Almost all of these workers are paid less than $10 an hour by the multi-million-dollar airport contractors who employ them to provide essential services to Sea-Tac passengers.

After announcing their union, they will march to Alaska Airlines Headquarters to demand Alaska executives direct the contractors they hire to negotiate with the workers’ unions for good jobs and living wages.

WHO: Poverty-wage baggage handlers, wheelchair assistants, skycaps, and cabin cleaners, joined by faith leaders and other community supporters.

WHAT: Announce that 1000+ workers have joined unions for good jobs & living wages at multi-million dollar airport contractors Menzies, Bags, AirServ, and Delta Global  Services. Carrying banners & signs reading “UNION!”, they will then march to Alaska Air Group’s Headquarters and call on the company to direct the contractors they hire to negotiate with workers unions for good jobs and living wages.

WHEN: TODAY – Tuesday, March 26 at 12:15 p.m.

WHERE: Alaska Air Group’s Headquarters, just south of the airport. (GPS address: 19300 Pacific Highway South, SeaTac, WA 98188)

Today’s event comes after a year in which airport workers have repeatedly spoken up and taken action together to raise the issues of poverty wages, inadequate benefits and job security, a lack of proper safety equipment, and other dangerous working conditions. These actions have sparked intense concern by elected officials and the general public, and even prompted an ongoing state investigation of illegal labor practices and health & safety violations.

Alaska Airlines is by far the biggest airline at Sea-Tac, accounting for about half the flights at our airport. Because of their dominant market position, they have the power to address workers issues and raise standards by directing the contractors they hire to negotiate with workers unions for good jobs and living wages.

More information:

Workers employed by 4 different multi-million dollar airport contractors at Sea-Tac will announce they have formed unions with SEIU Local 6:

  • Menzies workers handle baggage and provide ramp services for Alaska and other airlines at Sea-Tac. Menzies Aviation is a global provider of passenger, ramp and cargo handling services, operating in more than 132 airports in 30 countries. Menzies made $51 million last year in profits on $2.9 billion in revenue.
  • BAGS, Inc. workers provide passenger wheelchair services at Sea-Tac for Alaska and other airlines. BAGS employs 5,000 people nationwide and takes in approximately $100 million in revenue annually.
  • Delta Global Services (DGS) workers provide cabin-cleaning services for Alaska and other airlines. DGS is wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, Inc. which earned more than $1 billion in net revenue last year.
  • AirServ workers clean aircraft cabins and provide other passenger services at Sea-Tac. AirServ is a privately-owned company employing about 12,000 people worldwide, with revenue of approximately $300 million.

Additionally, workers for ground transportation company GCA will announce they have formed a union with Teamsters Local 117.

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. More information about working conditions at our airport is available at itsOURairport.org

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