A strike would have broad consequences, potentially slowing or stopping flights forcing a ground stop at the airport.
Aircraft fuelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport authorized a strike last week ahead of the holiday travel rush.
Teamsters Union Local 174 represents nearly 150 employees who refuel departing airplanes at Sea-Tac Airport. Those workers voted to join the union in March, but have not been able to negotiate their first contract with their employer Swissport, according to a news release from the union.
“They have not even made a full proposal,” said Jamie Fleming, a spokeswoman for the Teamsters. “We wanted to avoid this exact situation we are in, nobody wants a strike during the holiday season.”
The union will strike if a contract isn’t reached, but it’s expecting to see significant progress during a December negotiation meeting with Swissport, she said.
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A representative for Swissport, which has a contract for refueling planes at Sea-Tac, did not respond to questions. In a statement, Todd Lindamood, vice president of human resources, said the company will “remain optimistic that an agreement will be reached with our fueling associates at Sea-Tac Airport and will continue to negotiate in good faith.”
A strike would have broad consequences, potentially slowing or stopping flights at Sea-Tac Airport because there would be no employees to refuel departing planes. Port of Seattle spokesman Perry Cooper said airlines have contingency plans that include getting fuel at another location before arriving at Sea-Tac.