Low wage Sea-Tac workers fighting for better pay

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News Aviation Specialist

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Updated Monday, May 14 at 7:34 PM

SEATAC, Wash. --  Thousands of Sea-Tac Airport workers say their wages keep them in poverty. Now several groups say more must be done to help thousands of workers at the airport.

These are the people who clean the planes after you get off, fuel the planes before you takeoff,  and sling the bags both on and off. These are the people who work for airport contractors who, in turn, work for the airlines. 

On Monday, a consortium of four worker rights organizations released a report saying that those categories of employees  make around $9.70 an hour, often with few benefits such as paid vacation and health care.

Sea-Tac Airport is part of the Port of Seattle, and says after court decisions that went against the port back in the 1990s, they can no longer  influence what employers pay their employees. 

In a report entitled "First-class Airport, Poverty-class Jobs," the group - led by Puget Sound Sage, OneAmerica, Faith Action Network and Working Washington - said contractor jobs at  Sea-Tac is the lowest  of major airports up and down the West Coast.

In surveys with contract workers, the report said that contracted airport employees make just over $20,000 a year, more than $10,000 less than what Washington state defines as a living wage. 

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