October 20, 2013

All Out For Sea-Tac Referendum 1

Union members in this small community are making the push to Get Out The Vote for Referendum 1 which will mandate SeaTac Airport workers and surrounding businesses implement the $15.00/ minimum wage, sick days, full time work for part-timers before more part-time workers are hired, tips go to workers, and 90 day protection for workers when contractors change.  This does not apply to small businesses and many are supporting the referendum as it has been estimated that it will add $54 million per year to this small local economy. It is also estimated that this will affect more than 6,000 workers in the area.

There are about 300 volunteers converging here who are spreading out through this very diverse low income community. They have an exclusively mail ballot system and the ballots are beginning to arrive for the Nov. 5th election.  The first day we knocked on more than 6,000 doors.
The first morning a Teamster organizer spoke about their attempts for 10 years to organize baggage handlers and other non-union airport workers. After facing anti-union laws and regulations, targeting of union activists and retribution from management they decided to go to the community with this referendum.  In addition airports are under the Railway Labor Act which means they would need to organize a number of airports at the same time including in Hawaii.

The Teamsters joined with HERE who organize the large hotels near the airport (small hotels with less than 30 employees are exempt) and SEIU who are organizing in Seattle for the $15 minimum wage. They all are here and believe a victory here will be an impetus to struggles across the country. 

We will all be watching the election returns on November 5th for Sea-Tac Referendum 1 !

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