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Backers of SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative turn in petitions

The following is from Working Washington:

SEATAC (June 6, 2013) — On Wednesday, the SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative took a major step forward as supporters filed more than 2,500 signatures and called on the city to place the initiative on the November 2013 ballot. Only 1,541 valid signatures are required to qualify the measure in the city.

seatac-good-jobs-petitionsIt took airport workers and their community supporters less than four weeks of door-to-door canvassing to collect the signatures. The signature total represents nearly half of all SeaTac residents who voted in the 2011 general election.

Workers and their supporters delivered their signatures to the SeaTac City Clerk’s office Wednesday with the help of a marching band, balloons and celebratory signs.

“Today we celebrate in SeaTac. 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,” said the Rev. Jan Bolerjack, pastor of Riverton Park United Methodist Church.

“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.”

Thousands of poverty wage workers in and around the airport, the vast majority of whom live and shop in south King County, would see their lives improved by the initiative. Local economies could see an infusion of nearly $40 million a year into the City of SeaTac and surrounding communities.

“As a small business owner, I know that when people make more money, they spend more money in their community,” said Mohamed Ali, owner of the SeaTac International Market. “A good wage keeps qualified employees, builds customer loyalty, supports us directly or indirectly in resulting higher sales for small business in the city. When workers win, business wins and our communities win.”

The measure would set basic employment standards for workers employed in the transportation, tourism and hospitality industries in SeaTac, including paid sick leave, full-time work for those who need it, a living wage of at least $15/hour, job security for employees when companies change contractors, and assurances that tips and service charges go to the workers who perform the service. (See the SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative Fact Sheet.)

The measure would cover businesses in and around the airport, including airport baggage handling, passenger services, cabin cleaning, aircraft fueling, security, and retail stores, along with hotels, rental car and parking lot facilities. Small businesses are specifically exempt.

The SeaTac Committee for Good Jobs includes a broad array of workers, faith and community supporters, union members and retirees.

seatac-below-the-radarFor more information on the prevalence of low-wage jobs at Sea-Tac Airport, see the report Below the Radar, issued in March 2013 by Puget Sound Sage.

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