SEATAC (May 13, 2015) — Ten years ago today, Alaska Airlines illegally locked out nearly 500 men and women, many of them with decades of service at the airline. At 3 a.m., Alaska Airlines bused in subcontractor replacements — people paid much lower wages with fewer, if any, benefits, working for Menzies Aviation.
► Turnover among baggage handlers for Alaska Airlines is high; the resulting lack of experience and tarmac training causes safety concerns.
► Since 2005, Alaska Airlines has made more than $2 billion in net profits.
► The move cost King County’s economy at least $115 million, according to a new analysis.
► In response, the voters of Seatac approved a 2013 initiative to raise the wages 4,700 airport workers to $15/hr, causing their own ripple effect.
► Alaska Airlines sued to block Seatac Prop 1, and it now awaits a WA State Supreme Court decision.
► Alaska’s action 10 years ago was mirrored again and again by other airlines. Today many U.S. airport jobs are outsourced to low wage subcontractors.
► This is part of a national trend — economists say more than 1 in 3 baggage handlers and airplane cleaners live in or near poverty. Wages have dropped by nearly 45% of many of these jobs over the last decade.