Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant was among several arrested Wednesday afternoon at Alaska Airlines headquarters in SeaTac during a demonstration protesting the company’s failure to pay workers $15 an hour.
“It’s not about me. It’s about the workers who have been fighting for $15 an hour,” Sawant told KIRO Radio’s Brandi Kruse as she was led away in handcuffs.
Along with Sawant, two other airport workers and a church reverend were arrested during the protest, organizers confirmed.
Sage Wilson, with Working Washington, says the demonstration targeted Alaska Air because it has fought efforts to enact a $15 minimum wage passed by voters in November, 2013.
“In the past year, Alaska Airlines has tried to keep $15 off the ballot, campaigned unsuccessfully to vote it down, and 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,” said Wilson in a statement. “Now their big national airline lobby group has filed a Federal lawsuit too, claiming this time the Port of Seattle doesn’t have the power to set a minimum wages, either.”
The demonstration is just the first of a series of coordinated events at nine U.S. airports, Wilson said.