Open letter from Working Washington to Alaska Airlines:
"At this point it is clear that you don’t have a legal strategy. You have a strategy of delay for delay’s sake."
Working Washington Executive Director Sejal Parikh sent this open letter to Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden in response to news today that Alaska filed a motion asking the State Supreme Court to reconsider their August 20th decision upholding SeaTac Proposition 1 in its entirety.
UPDATE (4:33 pm): the Port of Seattle has now joined the motion for reconsideration. Note that like Alaska Air, the Port has official policies requiring contractors to follow the law. So why in the case of SeaTac Proposition 1 are they taking a different position?
September 9, 2015
Dear Mr. Tilden,
As you know, on August 20th the State Supreme Court upheld SeaTac Proposition 1 in its entirety, including the $15 minimum wage, paid sick and safe time, and other labor standards.
This decision came after your airline led years of delay and opposition to good jobs & living wages at our airport. You filed suit to keep SeaTac Proposition 1 off the ballot. You were a major contributor to the campaign for a no vote on the ballot measure. And you filed suit again to overturn the voter-approved law.
Airport workers and the people of SeaTac have prevailed each and every time.
But today Alaska Airlines is once again attempting to keep good jobs from arriving at Sea-Tac. You have now filed a motion of reconsideration with the very same State Supreme Court that just upheld Proposition 1 — even though there is zero reason to expect that the court has changed its opinion in the last 20 days.
At this point it is clear that you don’t have a legal strategy. You have a strategy of delay for delay’s sake.
The minimum wage, paid sick & safe time, and other standards that are included in the law were supposed to be in effect as of January 1, 2014. But few if any of Alaska’s subcontracted workers — the baggage handlers, jet fuelers, cabin cleaners, and wheelchair agents who serve Alaska passengers every day— have yet received the minimum wage and backpay they are owed by their employers.
Your legal bills must be mounting, but your airline clearly has substantial financial resources at its disposal. Sea-Tac Airport, your hub, is seeing record numbers of travelers, your corporate profits continue to hit new highs, and your company has launched a billion-dollar-plus stock buyback plan.
Presumably, you also recognize your responsibility here, because your own corporate code of conduct is quite clear on the matter of vendors being obligated to follow the law:
"Any vendor that wishes to do business with Alaska or Horizon shall fully implement and integrate this Code and applicable laws into its business and shall submit to verification and monitoring on request by Alaska or Horizon. Non compliance with this code shall be grounds for terminating the business relationship."
The stalling tactics have gone on long enough. Many workers at Sea-Tac will get their paychecks Friday. They expect to see their $15.24/hour and backpay on those checks.
Therefore, on behalf of the thousands of airport workers who have fought for more than two years to pass SeaTac Proposition 1 into law and win its full implementation, a question:
What is your plan to ensure that all your subcontractors follow the law, including paying their employees the inflation-adjusted $15 minimum wage, paid sick and safe time, and other labor standards, retroactive to the law’s effective date of January 1, 2014?
I look forward to hearing how you intend to proceed.
Executive Director, Working Washington