Alaska Airlines announces record 2012 profits – but Sea-Tac workers are stuck in poverty-wage jobs

*For Immediate Release, January 24, 2013 Contact: Thea Levkovitz,

Today (Thursday, Jan. 24) Alaska Airlines reported profits of $316 million in 2012. This represents a 3rd consecutive year of record profits for the SeaTac-based company.

But meanwhile, poverty wages continue for the Sea-Tac baggage handlers, fuelers, passenger service workers, and cabin cleaners who work for the contractors that help make Alaska Airlines successful. Their reaction to today’s news of Alaska’s record profits:

Saba Belachew serves Alaska Airlines customers as a wheelchair attendant for BAGS, Inc.:

"It’s appalling that my co-workers and I are paid minimum wage while Alaska Airlines makes record profits. We’re part of Alaska’s success. We provide quality customer services, every day of the year. Who can raise a family on $9.19 an hour? It’s time for Alaska’s executives and shareholders to respect all the workers who have made their company so profitable. It’s time for them to share in the success.”

Muse Abdallah serves Alaska Airlines customers as a baggage handler for Menzies:

“I am responsible for getting passenger bags out in 20 minutes to help Alaska Airlines make their record profits. I'm proud to provide quality service to Alaska's customers but my co-workers and I are paid poverty wages. While Alaska's executives are making more money, at the same time I will make less because my holiday pay has just been cut.”

Community leaders also weighed in on the news of Alaska’s record profits.

Jackie O’Ryan, Co-Director, Faith Action Network:

“With the gulf continuing to grow between the rich and the working poor, companies face the moral challenge of sharing success. We’re waiting for the leaders of Alaska Airlines to say they will share the success with all the workers who helped them win it. It’s unfathomable that many of Alaska’s contract workers still earn poverty wages while company leaders celebrate such monetary gains.”

The baggage handlers, fuelers, passenger service workers, and cabin cleaners are employed by contractors that are hired by Alaska Airlines. They are among the 2,800 airline- contracted workers at our airport who are paid poverty wages by area standards. These workers and their community allies are beginning to speak out and to call on Alaska and other airlines at Sea-Tac to make every airport job a good job.

Additionally, these workers also are speaking out about unsafe and illegal working conditions at contractors of Alaska Airlines and other airlines. Last month, more than 50 workers filed complaints with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, alleging widespread violations of workplace health and safety, and also wage theft. L&I is investigating the allegations against the contractors, and also has expanded the investigation to include Alaska Airlines itself.

For additional information:

Download the report: First-class Airport, Poverty-class Jobs

Read the op-ed from SeaTac Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson: Alaska Airlines should hire contactors that pay a living wage

Read the Faith Leaders’ open letter to Alaska CEO: Faith leaders’ letter to Alaska CEO Brad Tilden

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.