Workers in and around Sea-Tac Airport fought for and, in 2013, won $15. And now, the Washington State Supreme Court has agreed, handing down its decision in favor of workers and their families. The court upheld what we’ve been saying all along in this long process - workers at Sea-Tac Airport should be paid a living wage of $15 an hour.
It’s been a long process because Alaska Airlines and other big businesses fought to block $15 for airport workers, tying it up in the court system for as long as they could. Over the past year and a half, airport workers have continued to demand that Alaska follow the law and continued to organize for their rights at work, including workers at an airport subcontractor who have formed a union.
Ever since Alaska Airlines replaced middle-class jobs with poverty-wage subcontractor positions a decade ago, workers have been fighting for living wages and job protections. Workers have risked arrest and risked their jobs, taking the fight to the streets and to the shareholders’ meetings.
As Socrates Bravo, who works 60–70 hour weeks for Alaska Airlines’ subcontractor Menzies Aviation said, “The fight at Sea-Tac airport that spread to Seattle is not just about receiving a $15/hour minimum wage. It's about fairness, dignity and respect. It allows a voice to the voiceless. It allows us to live a life.”
And while the workers at the airport and the community of SeaTac celebrate this historic win, we know wins like this aren’t possible without a fight. And we know that fight isn’t over. The big business lobby will be there at every turn trying to avoid paying living wages and respecting workers’ rights. And so workers will be right there, too.