Just outside Seattle, a bold campaign to raise workplace standards at the ballot box

Poverty-wage workers bringing SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative to the ballot

A bold campaign to raise standards for airport & tourism industry workers quickly wins overwhelming support

SEATAC, WA (5 June 2013) - After just a few weeks of signature gathering, workers & community allies have collected well more than the number of signatures necessary to qualify the SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative for the November ballot, and will officially file those signatures with the city clerk Wednesday afternoon — with the help of a celebratory brass band. The campaign now enters the next phase on the march towards passage of this groundbreaking initiative to raise standards for airport, transportation, and tourism industry workers in the city of SeaTac.

This is just the latest step in an ambitious organizing effort in which workers in and around Sea-Tac Airport have brought health & safety issues to public attentionformed unions, and called on Alaska Airlines— the dominant carrier at Sea-Tac — to support higher standards at its contractors. Taking the Good Jobs Initiative to the ballot is the simply the next move in the broad-based worker and community campaign to make sure every job in and around our airport is a good job.

"It’s great that so many people support the SeaTac good jobs initiative and it was easy to get signatures.” said Assadollah Valibiergi, a wheelchair attendant who works for Alaska Airlines contractor, Bags, Inc. "When I knocked on doors, people understood that we all do better when workers are paid better. I’m sure that when it comes time in November, SeaTac voters will support low wage workers having full-time work and better wages."

Support for the Good Jobs Initiative so far has been overwhelming. In fact, the 2500+ signatures being filed — gathered in just a few weeks — already represent nearly half the votes cast in the last SeaTac municipal election.

The SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative would set basic employment standards for thousands of poverty-wage workers employed in the transportation, tourism, and hospitality industries in SeaTac, including earned sick leave, creation full-time work opportunities, guarantees that tips go to the workers who performed the service, and a living wage standard of $15/hour.

“Today we celebrate in SeaTac," said Rev. Jan Bolerjack, pastor of Riverton Park United Methodist Church. "Filing the initiative shows how the community is coming together in its care and concern for one another. When working families can be paid properly and thrive, our whole community benefits."

Wednesday's filing of signatures to raise standards for poverty-wage airport workers comes less than a week after strikes by Seattle fast food workers spread across the city, forcing the closure of at least 8 restaurants and making the "Strike Poverty - Raise Seattle" message the biggest local story of the week. The growth of poverty wage jobs has become a key local political issue, with local politicians competing to see who can express stronger support for raising standards for poverty-wage workers in our community.

A fact sheet on the SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative is available online.

Working Washington has been a key participant in both the SeaTac good jobs campaign and the Seattle fast food effort. We are a coalition of individuals, neighborhood associations, immigrant groups, civil rights organizations, people of faith, and labor united for a fair economy. Together, we are organizing to push corporations and politicians to stop the cuts, invest in our communities and create good jobs. That’s how to make the economy work for all of us, not just the top 1%. For more information, visit WorkingWA.org