Workers who fuel Alaska Airlines planes at Sea-Tac Airport voted Wednesday to authorize a strike unless one of their co-workers, who spoke out about workplace safety, is allowed back on the job.

The group Working Washington said Aircraft Service International Group (ASIG), retaliated against Alex Popescu for his efforts. The workers said Popescu testified before the Port of Seattle in April and showed photos of faulty equipment that affect the safety of ASIG workers. They also say Popescu reported in September about broken equipment on a truck he was supposed to drive.

Working Washington said Popescu was suspended indefinitely from his low-wage job. They want him to be reinstated. They also want ASIG to address the safety concerns he raised and respect workers rights.

The workers claim they tried to appeal to ASIG management before authorizing the strike.

Trying to get rid of someone who was speaking out for all of us doesn't make the airport any safer, and we can't let them get away with it, said fueler Gary Yancy, in a press release.

The experiences of Popescu, Yancy and other workers are documented on a blog called

It s not immediately clear when the strike would begin, but the workers say it would cause disruptions at the airport.

There was no immediate comment from ASIG.

Story compiled by KING 5's Travis Pittman

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