Sea-Tac aircraft fuelers vote to authorize strike for safety & fairness at work

Contact: Thea Levkovitz, or Sage Wilson,

Possible action by fuelers could cause delays at Sea-Tac

Airport workers who fuel planes for Alaska and most other major airlines at Sea-Tac have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike over retaliation against a co-worker who raised public concerns about safety & fairness issues at our airport. Any job action by these fuelers, who work for a low-wage contractor called ASIG, could cause disruption at Sea-Tac and ripple effects throughout the Alaska Airlines network.

Today at noon, fuelers will hold a press conference to detail the situation that prompted their difficult decision to authorize a strike. They will then deliver official notification of their vote to ASIG management.

When: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 12 noon

Where: Cell phone waiting lot, 16601 Air Cargo Road, SeaTac, WA 98158. This lot, under the shadow of Sea-Tac's air traffic control tower, is just yards from ASIG management offices.

What: Aircraft fuelers with banners, signs, and large blown-up photos documenting safety issues will hold a press conference to explain their vote to authorize a strike. Joined by community and faith leaders, they will then deliver official notification of their strike authorization vote to ASIG management.

Sea-Tac fuelers voted to authorize a strike after their employer retaliated against Alex Popescu, a fuel technician who has been actively involved in helping co-workers organize around workplace safety issues and other concerns. In August, Alex testified before the Port of Seattle and showed photos of faulty equipment that affect the safety of ASIG workers. On September 12, Alex reported other broken equipment on a truck he was supposed to drive.

He was then suspended indefinitely, and has not been allowed back to work since.

Alex's co-workers are demanding that he be reinstated to his job, and that the safety issues he has raised be addressed and workers' rights respected. They made the difficult decision to authorize a strike only after exhausting every other option, including phone calls, petitions, and direct appeals to the management of ASIG and the airlines who hire ASIG to safely fuel their planes.

"This is about our right to speak out about safety & fairness," explained Gary Yancey, a 14-year fueler. "It's not safe for us to be driving broken trucks. Trying to get rid of someone who was speaking out for all of us doesn't make the airport any safer, and we can't let them get away with it."

Aircraft fuelers are among the thousands of poverty-wage workers at our airport. Together, they are speaking out to make sure every job at our airport is a good job — one that offers good wages & benefits, a safe & healthy working environment, and a fair shot at a better future.

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