Teamsters call on the Port of Seattle to clean up its act!
Updated On: Sep 22, 2011
Teamsters Local 117 joined hundreds of community members on September 16 in downtown Seattle to demand that Port of Seattle CEO, Tay Yoshitani, and his staff do more to ensure that the Port is a source of good family-wage jobs so that workers at the Port can provide a decent life for themselves and their families.
The rally took place in front of the Westin Hotel, where Port executives from around the country had gathered for the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) annual convention.
While inside the convention, highly-paid Port executives touted the Port of Seattle as a “Port of Prosperity,” the scene outside told a very different story.
Rally participants chanted, “What do we want? Good jobs! When do we want them? Now!” Others held signs that read, “Port of Poverty” or displayed Yoshitani’s photo with a caption that read, “Overpaid.”
POVERTY EMPLOYMENT AT A PROSPEROUS PORT
With a salary of nearly $400,000 a year, Yoshitani is the highest paid Port CEO in the country. By comparison, many airport workers earn poverty wages, with no health care, no vacation pay, and no retirement security.
These baggage handlers, skycaps, concession workers, janitors, and wheelchair pushers struggle to support their families by working multiple jobs in a hostile work environment.
At the seaport, independent truck drivers work for near minimum wage delivering the goods that drive our economy.
CHANGE NEEDED NOW!
“We call on Tay Yoshitani and the Port of Seattle to take responsibility for the abuse of workers that is taking place on their watch,” said Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson, who emceed the rally.
“It’s time for the Port of Seattle to stop polluting our neighborhoods and adopt a fair set of good jobs principles thatinclude full-time work, the right to organize, and dignity and respect for workers,” she said.
A WEEK OF ACTION AT THE PORT
The rally capped off a week of action aimed at drawing attention to the environmental hazards and the abysmal working conditions at the Port. Throughout the week, Port workers spoke out at rallies, participated in leafleting actions, and led delegations.
“We are the heartbeat of the airport,” said Hosea Wilcox, a skycap, who, after 30 years on the job, is still earning minimum wage. “I want to see to it that we get some respect.”