Airport Workers Move One Step Closer to Job Security

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.

Politics and Workers’ Power

Local 8 Newsletter, January 2011

Politics is an integral part of worker power, because elected officials can make a huge difference in our lives.

For example, in 2006 and 2007, the support of community groups and politicians helped us win the best hotel Union contract in the history of Local 8 at the Westin Seattle.

In the next several years, Port of Seattle Commissioners will decide who runs food service concessions at the airport and whether long-term Union members will keep their jobs, wages and benefits. The King County Council and Seattle City Council will have a say in whether the hotel industry grows in a workerfriendly direction.

For all those reasons, it is our goal at Local 8 to increase and improve our efforts to create a political program that builds power for workers in the hospitality industry. In a big step in that direction, Melody Swett, shop steward at the Westin Seattle, agreed to join our Union’s political team for this past election season. Because of her work, we were able to register more members to vote than ever before, get committee leaders and shop stewards involved in our electoral campaign work, increase our voter turnout and show key candidates that we are serious about supporting them and their field campaigns.

We helped defeat the antiworker initiative 1082, which would have privatized our workers’ compensation insurance system for on-the-job injuries, we helped re-elect Senator Patty Murray, and we made a difference in many smaller local races. The experience of running a comprehensive political program this year will help us be ready for the 2011 election season, when many important local races will be on the ballot while we negotiate union contracts in all major King County union hotels.

Download the January 2011 Local 8 Newsletter.

Judge rules against corporate effort to block minimum wage increase

December 29, 2010, The Seattle Times

A Kittitas County judge Wednesday rejected a request to halt a 12-cent increase to the state’s minimum wage that takes effect this weekend.

Superior Court Judge Scott Sparks ruled against the summary judgment request made by a coalition of business groups that sued the state last month over the decision to raise the minimum wage to $8.67 an hour.

The groups opposed to the increase argue that the minimum wage can’t be increased in 2011 because this year’s Consumer Price Index did not reflect a net increase in the cost of living since 2008. A voter initiative ties the state’s minimum wage to the index.

The coalition opposed to the increase includes the Washington Farm Bureau, the Washington Restaurant Association and the Washington Retail Association.

Click here to read the rest of the article.