Sea-Tac aircraft fuelers authorize strike

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SEATTLE - Sea-Tac Airport workers who fuel airplanes have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.

 

The workers, employed by ASIG, warned that any job action could disrupt flights.

 

The strike vote was in response to the suspension of a worker who they said raised public concerns about safety and fairness issues.

 

The worker, Alex Popescu, told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter he was retaliated against and suspended because he spoke up about safety issues with fuel trucks during a Port of Seattle meeting.

 

"Everything from trucks with soft or no brakes, leaking fuel hoses, trucks that spark when they're being driven when they're hauling fuel," Popescu said.

 

Popescu said the company he works for, ASIG, is not fixing the problem so the fuelers could strike.

 

ASIG employees fuel 75% of the airplanes that fly out of SeaTac, including airplanes for the airport's largest airline, Alaska Airlines.

 

When asked if Sea-Tac has a backup plan, spokesperson said the airlines hire the fuelers directly, so the airport can't comment.

 

If airplane fuelers go on strike, it could have a big impact on travelers, causing delays and even flight cancellations.

 

Popescu said the safety hazards affect travelers as much as they affect workers.

 

"You're hauling jet fuel, highly combustible fuel, and a truck is sparking. That could be a catastrophic explosion," he said.

 

Calls to ASIG were not immediately returned.

 

But Sea-Tac said that because the workers aren't in a union, they could be replaced by the airlines if they walk off the job.