Sea-Tac Ranks Lowest of 5 Major West Coast Airports

(Originally posted on

New report shows how other airports have raised working standards, lifted up communities

“Below the Radar,” a just-released report from regional think tank Puget Sound Sage, shows that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport arrives last among five major West Coast airports in standards for wages and working conditions.

Thousands of Sea-Tac workers are paid at or near the state minimum wage of $9.19/hour, lagging far behind the airport living wage standards established by other major airports.

- San Francisco: $12.43 – $14.18 minimum

- LAX: $15.37 minimum

- San Jose: $14.71 minimum

- Oakland: $13.45 minimum

“When I load baggage onto an Alaska Airlines flight headed for LAX, I get paid $9.19/hr. The guy who unloads the plane gets paid at least $15.37. It’s the same airline, the same contractor, the same work, the same flight, and even the same bag — but I get paid $5 less. That’s got to change.” — Yoseph Diallo, Menzies Ramp Worker

The report also shows that Sea-Tac ranks below the other 4 airports in paid sick days, safety training, and job security.

The report shows that Alaska Airlines and the other carriers doing business at our airport already operate profitably at these high-standard West Coast airports. “Below the Radar” notes that Southwest Airlines has actively supported high workplace standards at San Jose airport where it dominates the market, while Alaska Airlines has remained silent about poverty-wage conditions at Sea-Tac. The report concludes that Alaska Airlines can and should ensure that Sea-Tac contractors meet those same high standards.

“Why can Alaska Airlines meet the West Coast standard at these other 4 airports — and not at their hometown airport? Alaska Airlines –  it is time to do the moral and right thing here at home: working wages for our working people who serve us all.” — Rev. Dr. Monica Corsaro, Rainer Beach United Methodist Church

“Why should my employer pay me so much less for doing my job at Sea-Tac when they pay so much more at other airports. There’s no excuse for conditions to be so much worse at our airport.” — Mary Sagbo, DAL Global Services Cabin Cleaner

Low-wage workers at Sea-Tac have taken action repeatedly in recent months to demand that the big airlines like Alaska and the elected officials who oversee our airport ensure that every job at our airport is a good job. Airport workers are among the growing number of low-wage workers across country — including Walmart clerks, fast food workers, janitors, and more — who are rising up to demand that everyone gets a fair shot at a decent living, not just the CEOs who wrecked our economy in the first place.

B-Roll available:

0:00 – 0:03 – marchers with airport good jobs signs and international flags (April 2012 rally at Sea-Tac)

0:03 – 0:06 – Make every airport job a good job sticker

0:06 – 0:14 – Faith leaders lock arms with airport workers (September 2012, March to Alaska Airlines HQ)

0:14 – 0:24 – Marchers with signs moving down International Blvd (September 2012, March to Alaska Airlines HQ)

More information:

* Download the complete Below the Radar report or view the Report Webcast on Puget Sound Sage’s website.

* More information about working conditions at Sea-Tac available at