Workers overlooked in safety inspection of Sea-Tac fuel operations

On Oct. 5, Working Washington issued the following statement in response to news of an FAA inspection of safety issues in Sea-Tac fueling operation. Two days after Sea-Tac aircraft fuelers announced their overwhelming vote to authorize a strike for safety & fairness, the FAA has reportedly been called in to look into the serious safety issues workers have raised.

However, the FAA inspectors failed to speak to the workers who brought these issues to public attention. In fact, Alex Popescu — the fueler who was suspended after speaking out on safety issues and reporting a broken truck to his manager — only heard about the FAA inspection when contacted about it by the media.

Over the past several months, aircraft fuelers at Sea-Tac have repeatedly raised serious safety concerns with ASIG managers and corporate executives. They have brought serious safety issues like faulty fuel nozzles, loose brakes, and fuel-soaked work shirts directly to Alaska and the other airlines whose planes they are responsible for fueling. And they have spoken to Port Commissioners and other elected officials to make them aware of these matters.

The ASIG fuelers who have spoken out about these safety issues would be happy to talk with the FAA, the Port, Alaska Airlines, or ASIG management in order to improve safety on the job at Sea-Tac.

While the FAA has not spoken to us, workers remain ready, willing, and able to show inspectors the specific equipment they are concerned about in order to ensure that these safety problems are remedied and not swept under the rug.