A new report on jobs at our airport has just been released by Working Washington, OneAmerica, Faith Action Network, and Puget Sound Sage. You can download a full copy of the report here: First-class Airport, Povert-class Jobs: How the Port of Seattle and Alaska Airlines create prosperity for some and economic hardship for others. Here is an excerpt.
Alaska Airlines sheds good jobs to increase profits
However, Alaska has not been generous with every worker responsible for its success.
A key component of the company’s strategy to increase profits has been to contract out increasing portions of its workforce and operations. In the last decade, the value of the work Alaska contracted out has grown from $82 million to $185.1 million.
Over the years, workers who loaded and unloaded bags, fueled jets and assisted passengers with special needs have gone from proudly wearing Alaska Airlines uniforms to wearing a panoply of ever-changing uniforms.
In an even more dramatic move, Alaska began to contract out entire west coast routes to SkyWest Airlines. The jet and the interior of the plane all bear Alaska insignias and color schemes and the only indicator that Alaska is not, in fact, the operator of these jets is a small “SkyWest” insignia on the fuselage.
The result, as well as the underlying purpose, of contracting out these services is lower operational costs through reduced wages, fewer benefits, and decreased job security for workers.
In 2005, Alaska Airlines executives began to subcontract with Menzies Aviation for baggage handling, also known as ramp services, claiming that it would save the company $13 million a year.
Until then, due to a hard-won collective bargaining agreement, Alaska baggage handlers earned an average of $15.59 per hour with a maximum pay of $23 per hour.
With the shift to Menzies, this relatively high wage standard soon plummeted.
Read the full report: First-class airport, Poverty-class Jobs