February 16, 2011
Airport workers came out in full force last Friday to support House Bill 1832 in front of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development in the Washington State House of Representatives. Four days later, the Committee voted to move the bill forward for possible consideration by the entire House of Representatives.
House Bill 1832 is a win-win solution for workers, business, travelers, and the Port of Seattle. Workers keep their jobs, and the Port of Seattle retains highly experienced and dedicated workers. The Port of Seattle also benefits from the bill because they are guaranteed smooth transitions between service contracts and a reduced risk of labor disputes.
Geomar Nicolo, a bartender for over 15 years, spoke on behalf of UNITE HERE! Local 8 members in front of the Committee.
“My family has a better life because of my job as a bartender at SeaTac airport,” testified Geomar. “I am able to support my wife and my three kids because I know I can count on my employment at SeaTac airport.”
The bill would affect up to 1,500 workers at SeaTac Airport, many of whom could lose their jobs if the Port of Seattle contracts with new management companies to take over existing operations. The bill requires that any new company contracting with the Port of Seattle must retain the existing workforce, some of whom have worked at SeaTac Airport for decades.
The recent Committee vote is just the first push in a campaign to provide a stable business climate and job security for workers at SeaTac Airport. The next major step for HB 1832 would be a full vote of the State House of Representatives, after which the legislation would go on to the State Senate.
Check back for more information as we continue our campaign. If you are an airport worker and would like to get involved, contact Cindy Richardson at 206-470-2982.