BREAKING: Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant has just been arrested in @AlaskaAir protest: pic.twitter.com/f7xn0fg1vQ
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) November 20, 2014
Saying Alaska Airlines is trying to "block the $15/hour minimum wage" from being given to SeaTac airport workers, activists rallied outside the company's headquarters late this afternoon chanting, among other things, "Show Me $15!"
After some activist blocked traffic, four were arrested—including Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant. According to the group Working Washington, which organized the protest, the other three people arrested are: SeaTac airport worker Socrates Bravo; the Rev. John Helmiere of Valley & Mountain Church; and former SeaTac worker Kadra Osman.
"Today’s events come after a year of mounting community frustration with Alaska Airlines, which tried to keep $15 off the ballot in the first place, campaigned unsuccessfully to vote it down, and then sued in state court to block it from taking effect for thousands of airport workers, arguing that SeaTac doesn’t have the power to set a minimum wage," Working Washington said in a statement. "Their latest effort: just last week, their big national airline lobby group filed a Federal lawsuit too, claiming this time the Port of Seattle doesn’t have the power to set a minimum wage, either."
Last year, explaining its involvement in one of the lawsuits mentioned by Working Washington, a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines told the LA Times: "Alaska Airlines believes in fair pay and benefits for all workers, and we respect every worker and the job they do. We also recognize pay inequality is a serious problem. This lawsuit is not about $15 an hour. It's about an initiative that violates state and federal law."