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Councilmember Sawant Statement in the SeaTac Courthouse Regarding Alaska Airlines and the $15/Hour Minimum Wage

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2/19/2015

Councilmember Sawant Statement in the SeaTac Courthouse Regarding Alaska Airlines and the $15/Hour Minimum Wage

SEATTLECouncilmember Kshama Sawant made the following statement in the lobby of the SeaTac courthouse today regarding Alaska Airlines and the SeaTac vote for $15/hour:

“Sisters and Brothers, Alaska Airlines made their case to the people of SeaTac, and they lost.  There was a democratic vote.

“Alaska Airlines alone spent over $100,000 to try and convince voters not to approve it, but in the end, the people of SeaTac voted for $15/hour in November 2013.

“It is now February 2015 – 15 months since the people voted – and still Alaska Airlines is refusing to pay $15/hr. 

“Alaska Airlines doesn’t care about democracy; they don’t care the vote of the people; they care about money. They are blocking the democratic will of SeaTac voters to protect their big profits, denying a pay raise to hundreds of airport workers and their families who are struggling to make ends meet.  

“Alaska Airlines should be on trial for blocking voters’ decision and paying poverty wages, not the workers and activists who stood up to Alaska Airline’s criminal violation of workers’ rights!  We did precisely what the SeaTac’s courts should have done!  When will Alaska CEO Brad Tilden be arrested for breaking the law passed by the people of SeaTac?  When is his pre-trial?

“Let’s be clear about what today’s court appearance is about:  Despite what Alaska Airlines or what the SeaTac City Attorney’s office might suggest, this is not about disorderly conduct.

“I don’t think anyone truly believes that a hard working baggage handler, a pastor, and a City Councilmember, cannot conduct ourselves appropriately in public.

“This is about the minimum wage.  This is about Alaska Airlines, a company that brags about raking in $571 million in profits last year off the backs of low-wage workers.  This is about the workers who do all the work to make this world run, and who are falling farther and farther behind.

“Falling behind, not because they are not working hard enough or smart enough, but because companies like Alaska Airlines think they can buy elections and ignore the laws that they couldn’t buy.

“So I am proud to stand here today with the Reverend John Helmiere and Socrates Bravo, and all the other workers and activists who have joined this demonstration, because together we have the power to defeat even the intransigence of Alaska Airlines. Because we are winning!  Workers won the vote in SeaTac.  We won the minimum wage struggle in Seattle. Voters in San Francisco overwhelming passed a $15/hr minimum wage last election and the 15 Now campaign we launched last year in Seattle is rapidly spreading to dozens of cities across the country.

“We know what side of history Alaska Airlines will find itself on, but we also know that without our struggle it will never happen.  Thank you for coming out to support the minimum wage in SeaTac today and for all the effort you have put into this struggle.”

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