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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Protesters Disrupting Alaska Airlines Shareholder Meeting Right Now

Posted by on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Alaska Airlines shareholder meeting
  • Nicole Ramirez
  • Alaska Airlines shareholder meeting

Slog tipper Nicole Ramirez says she and about 100 protesters are inside the Alaska Airlines' annual shareholder meeting, happening now at Pier 66 in downtown Seattle. Thirty flight attendants, plus at least three airport workers from Los Angeles, are outside the meeting, she says.

"After a faith leader led supporters in the meeting in a song of solidarity, an Alaska representative threatened to end the meeting if there was an additional disruption," says Ramirez, an activist with Bayan USA Pacific Northwest, which is part of a coalition of labor groups—including Working Washington, Unite Here, SEIU, Teamsters, and Puget Sound Sage—organizing the action. She sent the photo above and the following e-mail statement:

While Alaska Air boasts huge profits today, they deny their workers, (many who come from people of color and migrant communities) livable wages, benefits, paid time off, and their right to unionize. Our message as a community: We love workers and will continue to support workers at SeaTac until they receive the dignity they deserve.

The workers have formed unions but are being denied union recognition by the contract companies Alaska airlines employs (ASIG, DGS, AirServ, BAGS, Menzies.) Alaska claims that they treat their workers well, but they overlook the contract workers who clean, fuel and load their planes.

Just last month, an Alaska Airlines contractor was fined for "failing to protect workers from urine, feces, blood, and vomit," Goldy reported.

And recall that last year, activists disrupted Amazon's shareholder meeting at the Seattle Art Museum. The tech giant promptly announced it would withdraw from ALEC, a right-wing coalition, and invest $15 million in air conditioners for warehouse workers. This year, Amazon moved its shareholder meeting to the "less visible" Seattle Repertory Theatre, Puget Sound Business Journal notes.

I'm not sure it matters where your average mega-corp holds its shareholder meeting. If you're treating workers like shit, chances are your shareholder get-together is going to get crashed.


Comments (12) RSS

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Apocynum 1
Eh, labor relations are a balance-of-power thing. The companies and governments made concessions to labor in the '30s not from the kindness of their heart, but to avoid riot and work stoppage – real costs associated with sufficiently pissing off their labor force. So long as the company can say "no" to labor and save money, they will continue to say "no" whenever the subject is raised.

To pretend that a small demonstration like this will change any executive's mind is self-delusion.
Posted by Apocynum on May 21, 2013 at 4:17 PM · Report this
i work for a plant company and was supposed to water the plants inside this building today but was blocked due to the protests. i thought the cops were just overreacting to some mild street chanting but it makes more sense that there was this shareholder meeting happening...
Posted by crasher on May 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM · Report this
This article is so unnecessary. I really dislike the biased language in this article, most notably 'huge' profits. Major airlines are for the most part a money losing business, they barley scrape by most years and a quick look at yahoo finance (ticker: ALK) will corroborate this claim.

In addition, the article leaves out the fact that a large portion of Alaska Airlines employees are unionized, and do receive great benefit (pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, etc). It may make some people uncomfortable, but it seems to me that Alaska places a high value on its value-adding employees, while those that fuel planes up and guide them in may not be as difficult to replace, and therefore less valuable.
Posted by taylorj.allison on May 21, 2013 at 5:01 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 4
I enjoy flying Alaska airlines. Their service is great, upgrades are frequently available, and they're on time!
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on May 21, 2013 at 5:17 PM · Report this
care bear 5
It does matter where annual meetings are held. The locations are picked strategically -- not to avoid protestors but to make sure the average shareholder doesn't show up. My dad represents shareholders in various Alaska native corporations and those corporations frequently have their meetings in Washington, not Alaska where all of their shareholders live. This pretty much ensures nobody shows up to hear any of the competition for spots on the board of directors.
Posted by care bear on May 21, 2013 at 6:03 PM · Report this
Hrm, things seem fine in the board room at seatac right now.
Posted by john cocktosin 234 on May 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM · Report this
What @3 said. Unpaid Intern's knee-jerk, completely uninformed posts are embarrassing even by Slog standards.
Posted by bigyaz on May 21, 2013 at 7:23 PM · Report this
at the shareholders meeting today the directors of the company talked about the company exceeding their profit goals for this year. the company can afford to treat it's workers fairly. and the company has a moral obligation to be sure that it's contractors treat their workers fairly.
Posted by kathy y on May 21, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this

Check your PowerBall ticket here:…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 21, 2013 at 7:31 PM · Report this
For what it's worth: You can do worse than Washington. Seattle is in some ways easier to get to than more than a few places in Alaska, even for Alaskans.

Some companies have been known to have the meetings in small rooms in island nations with very agressive security.

So bad, maybe. Really freaking evil: not so much.

Posted by david on May 21, 2013 at 7:53 PM · Report this
@taylorj.alison The "biased" language you speak of? You mean record profits 4 years in a row and an increase in stock value of 500% during this period, while employees have lost 8% of their wages during this same period due to inflation and a lack of wage increase. Thanks for taking the time to research your information before commenting.
Posted by Thetruthbetold on May 22, 2013 at 7:34 AM · Report this
Anybody who has ever flown AA and been dissatisfied with their service (read: ANYONE who has ever flown AA) really ought to be out there right now. Just sayin'.
Posted by treehugger on May 22, 2013 at 8:52 AM · Report this

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