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Workers considering appeal; vow to continue fight for workplace safety & fairness at Sea-Tac
"Our fight for safety and fairness at Sea-Tac will continue," said Leon Sams, a Sea-Tac fueler, after hearing of the preliminary injunction issued today by Federal District Court Judge James L. Robart which restricts the right of ASIG fuelers to go on strike. "We'll continue to pursue all lawful options not prohibited by the injunction, because this decision doesn't do anything to make our working conditions safer." In an initial step in the legal process, Judge Robart sided with multinational airport contractor ASIG in its lawsuit against its own employees, issuing a preliminary injunction this morning which prevents fuelers from going on strike. Working Washington will completely comply with the injunction.
"Have no doubt," Sams added, "we will completely comply with the injunction, but we’re going to continue to stand up for safety and respect at Sea-Tac."
Fuelers employed by ASIG, who are responsible for fueling 75% of the planes at Sea-Tac, have repeatedly raised serious concerns about workplace safety & fairness at our airport with their managers at ASIG; with Alaska Airlines, the largest carrier that hires ASIG to fuel its planes; and with the Port of Seattle, the public agency that oversees our airport.
But instead of fixing faulty trucks, broken ladders, and leaking fuel nozzles, ASIG chose to retaliate against employees who raised workplace safety issues. Then the company took the unusual step of filing a lawsuit against its own employees.
"It's incredible: we have simply been asking ASIG to fix these safety issues and stop retaliating against fuelers. Instead, they took us — their own employees — to Federal Court to silence us," explained Sams, who was there in Federal Court to witness the hearing on Wednesday. "The company's approach doesn't make sense, and it won’t work. Instead of trying to silence its workers, ASIG ought to listen to us when we raise serious workplace safety & fairness concerns."
Fuelers and the legal team supporting them respect Judge Robart’s decision but believe that it wrongly interprets Federal law in issuing the injunction. Fuelers and their supporters are considering next steps, including appealing the court’s decision.
- Documentation of some of the serious safety & fairness concerns Sea-Tac fuel technicians have raised is available online at this link: http://bit.ly/safetyviolations
- Judge James L. Robart was appointed to the Federal District Court in 2004 by President George W. Bush. Judge Robart’s court is within the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals
- ASIG is a division of BBA Aviation plc, headquartered in London and listed on the London Stock Exchange. In 2011, BBA Aviation realized $152.1 million in net profits after taxes on revenues of $2.137 billion. ASIG is hired by Alaska Airlines and most other major carriers at Sea-Tac to fuel their aircraft. BBA CEO Simon Pryce earned $1.976 million last year.
- Sea-Tac fuelers employed by ASIG work in difficult conditions with unsafe & faulty equipment, and earn about $10/hour, a wage which puts a family of 3 beneath the federal poverty line.
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 a safe & healthy working environment, and a fair shot at a better future.
For the latest information, visit itsOURairport.org