Ensuring all airport jobs are good jobs, where workers are able to have a voice on the job to advocate for their pay, safer working conditions and job security.
In 2012, over 4,000 workers at SeaTac International Airport made poverty wages, had poor and unsafe working conditions and no job security.
These workers do physically demanding work such as cleaning cabins, pushing passengers in wheelchairs, fueling airplanes, and loading bags on and off the airplane without any paid sick days or affordable health insurance. SeaTac airline companies like Alaska Airlines create these conditions by contracting out these jobs to multi-national contract companies who pay poverty wages and neglect to uphold workplace standards.
Puget Sound Sage partnered with unions and other communities partners in a campaign to "Make Every Airport Job, a Good Job".
In order to highlight the inadequate pay and working conditions, we published two research reports: First Class Airport, Poverty Class Jobs, which framed the worker issues at the airport, followed by Below the Radar which compared SeaTac’s low standards to other West Coast airports, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Oakland. These reports helped frame worker organizing, and allowed Sage organizers to build a strong coalition of faith and community allies to support the SeaTac workers organizing for good wages and safe working conditions.
Sage worked closely with union organizers to facilitate the participation of faith and community allies by helping to plan key campaign events such as rallies, public events and the Alaska Shareholders meeting. In November 2012, workers and faith leaders were able to meet with the CEO of Alaska Airlines, Brad Tilden, to discuss their working conditions and low wages. The following month, airport workers filed a mass L&I complaint together against their contract companies about their work conditions after Sage organized work safety experts to attend a Health and Safety worker forum. All contract companies were fined in 2013 after an investigation of conditions was completed.
In 2013, the workers, faith, and community members worked together to win the 2013 SeaTac Employment Standards ballot initiative.
Momentum built throughout the year as airport workers from five contract companies voted to form unions. The workers, backed by a delegation of over 80 faith and community members, delivered letters to their bosses in March 2013.
To ramp up the pressure, Puget Sound Sage then organized over 40 faith and community allies to attend the May 2013 Alaska shareholders meeting to bring to attention the conditions facing workers. Hundreds of faith members signed onto Faithful Flyers for Justice, an online campaign to support workers forming a union at SeaTac airport.
The campaign continues to fight to ensure that all airport jobs are good jobs, where workers are able to have a voice on the job to advocate for their pay, working conditions and job security.