VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE RALLY HERE!
Members of Teamsters 117 marched alongside hundreds of workers on Saturday to denounce poverty-wage jobs at Sea-Tac Airport.
Local 117 joined skycaps, janitors, concession workers, wheelchair pushers, baggage handlers, bus drivers, and taxi drivers, who are disrespected, underappreciated, and underpaid.
“The Port of Seattle is not doing enough to ensure that all workers at our airport are treated with dignity and respect,” said Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer Tracey A. Thompson.
Over a hundred taxi drivers were on hand, comprising the largest group of workers at the rally. Taxi drivers were out in force to protest the arcane regulations that funnel thousands of dollars a month out of their pockets and into the hands of the wealthiest 1 percent.
"Taxi drivers deal with airport management practices and rules that hurt us. We need to come together so we are a strong and unified voice that can take on the authorities who regulate us. Working with Local 117 we know we can make this a reality," said Gurminder Kahlon, a driver with Yellow Taxi.
As the crowd swelled to over 700, workers spoke passionately about unfair, abusive working conditions at the airport.
"If you don't speak English well, they treat you like donkeys," said a woman who works for one of the many companies that contract with the major airlines to provide services at the airport.
After the rally, the group marched down International Boulevard, carrying balloons and waving flags. As they marched, workers chanted, "Listen Port Authority, we are the majority!" and "Corporate airlines, workers are your lifelines!"
The march ended at Angle Lake Park, where workers celebrated with lunch provided by the taxi drivers and their families.
The event represents the kickoff of a new movement at the airport, in which workers are demanding:
respect and a voice at work
family wages and benefits
a safe working environment
the right to join a union
Workers say they will continue to fight for these basic rights until their demands are met.
The next event in the campaign is scheduled for May 24, when taxi drivers and their supporters will gather at the Teamsters Building in Tukwila for a forum with elected officials and other community stakeholders.
The forum, organized by Teamsters 117, will be an opportunity for the drivers to speak directly with elected officials about the broken system of outdated rules and policies that limit the drivers’ ability to make ends meet and earn a decent living for their families.