PHOTOS: Workers Rally in SeaTac in Support of Airport Jobs

If you drove past Sea-Tac International Airport on Saturday afternoon, you might have noticed a bit of excitement happening along International Boulevard.

The occasion was a rally and march in support of fair wages for airport and Port of Seattle workers.

Organized by OneAmerica and Working Washington, the event celebrated International Workers’ Day with a rally at the Sea-Tac Airport International Flag Pavilion and then a march down International Boulevard to Angle Lake Park.

Speakers at the rally included Congressman Adam Smith and King County Councilmember Julia Patterson.

The highlight of the rally was a series of talks by airport workers explaining the issues they face at work. The basic refrain was one that is becoming increasingly familiar… poverty-level wages, lack of benefits including affordable health care, and a sense that in a time of record corporate profits workers are being left out of that success.

In the words of Marine Corps veteran and airport worker Alex Popescu, “It’s appalling that I have to choose between filling my gas tank or feeding my family.”

Speakers and organizers singled out Alaska Airlines for special attention, suggesting that the airline has a great deal of influence over working conditions at Sea-Tac Airport.

The hundreds of attendees marched by the corporate headquarters on the way to Angle Lake Park.

A demonstration is planned at the Museum of Flight on May 15 during the Alaska Airlines Shareholder Meeting.

Photographer Michael Brunk attended Saturday’s rally and march and shot the following photos. You can click individual images to view them larger.


6 Responses to “PHOTOS: Workers Rally in SeaTac in Support of Airport Jobs”
  1. I published some additional photos from the rally here:

  2. Donna says:

    What a GREAT cause! I’m in FULL support of making every job a good job at the Seatac Airport!

    Recently, Seattle was voted as one of the top TEN airports in our country. This should reflect in providing workers with the best possible living wage.

    Rock on!

  3. Dear Citizens of SeaTac,

    The 3 SeaTac Council members you heavily supported in the 2011 election (Gregerson, Bush, and Ladenburg) have just voted for Agenda Bill 3248, in what I believe, goes against your own interests and philosophy. Please view the latest
    SeaTac City Council Study Session and subsequent Council meeting dated May 8th.

    One of the basics of any collective bargaining agreement is “just cause”
    termination and remedies to follow including re-instatement per the contract.

    What these Council Members have done to the non-represented staff is now to
    reverse what had been “just cause” to “at will” which is something the unions
    have fought for years. It would be greatly appreciated that you speak at the
    next Council Meeting and indicate your disappointment with their lack of
    adherence to the ideals you have expressed and possibly ask then to reverse
    Agenda Bill 3248. This is in the interest of Employees everywhere, and yes even
    standing up for those non-represented at this time.


    Michael T Kovacs

    Citizen of SeaTac

  4. Earl Gipson says:

    Mr. Kovacs,

    That was actually Agenda Bill 3428 and I understand your point. Changing from “just cause” to “at will” seems a bit hypocritical at this point even if those employees are non-represented. I hope the unions care enough to speak out since they financially backed these Council members. There should always be a documented cause for employment termination. I even spotted Councilman Ladenburg at the rally.

    The Cactus

  5. Wayne Sykes says:

    Thank you for your helpful link Mr. Kovacs and your follow up Mr. Gipson. Now for a little revelation from the record.

    Reviewing the video record, Agenda bill 3428 allows the city to apply the “At Will” standard for DEPARTMENT HEAD level staff ONLY. This affects approximately 12 upper management positions. Further, per video discussion, any of the affected management members retain the right to change their employment terms with the city to evade the At Will employment standard. This is not an attack on lower level employees, union or non-union. By the way, my understanding of “At Will” does not exclude documenting the rationale for dismissal.

    In every medium to large corporation I have worked for or with, the standard term for senior management employment is “At Will”, as the company perceives an economic impact from the (sometimes private) actions of their most publicly visible representatives. See the dismissal cases of Phil Condit and Harry Stonecipher at the Boeing Company if you need some perspective. If you truly believe that the capitalist system yields the most fair and efficient distribution of benefits to all members of our society, certainly you would want emulate many of the corporate practices in not for profit organizations, such as “At Will” standards for the most responsible positions.

  6. Earl Gipson says:

    The “at will” policy only affects new Management personnel such as the brand new Assistant City Manager just hired. All existing Management (those hired before the vote) remain “just cause” employees.

    I would say that 99 percent of ALL employees, corporate or not, are terminated for cause whether it be documented or not. What you do not want to see is paid SeaTac Management staff terminated for political persuasions/reasons or other nebulous reasons on a City Manager’s/Mayor’s/Council’s whim.

    Documented performance based terminations are the most fair but in government that is not always the case and those in touch know that. I was at the Council Meeting and Study Session so there are no new revelations in the last comment.

    Being self-employed since 96 may have its ups and downs but it beats what I have seen at my clients and in government. The unions were formed for reasons and “just cause” termination was a bedrock of those reasons. There was nothing going on at the City of SeaTac that justifies this change for Management personnel and as many know I have had my own criticisms of SeaTac Management. Regardless, they should still be treated fairly.