Wake-up call: Alaska Airlines outsourced baggage handling to save money, cutting hundreds of in-house jobs, a move that may have come back to bite them in the snooze heard around the world.

Share story

Gather ‘round, boys and girls, for another episode of Moated City Short-Attention-Span Theater, this week starring … Alaska Airlines!

On Monday, the world guffawed with news that an Alaska jet took flight with a baggage handler snoozing in the cargo bay. The story prompted KIRO radio host Dori Monson, a paid shill for the anti-union Association of Washington Business, to sneer on-air: “Probably a union worker who can’t be fired.”

Right off the money, as usual.

As the airline hastened to point out, the handler worked for Menzies Aviation, a nonunion, UK-based subcontractor. As it did not hasten to point out, that contractor is on the job today because Alaska in 2005 fired all 472 of its union baggage handlers — for the crime of trying to hang onto hard-won wages and benefits.

The millions saved annually by Alaska’s hiring of low-bidder contractors have helped the airline boost annual profits by hundreds of millions per year.

The firings, meanwhile, helped spawn the 2013 SeaTac $15 minimum-wage movement. Alaska fought that measure, then successfully sued to ensure the $15 wage can’t apply to thousands of lowly airport workers. The company continues to fight all attempts to boost minimum-airport pay.

Think, folks. While it’s unclear exactly what happened in this case, it’s a miracle that more sleep-deprivation airport mishaps don’t occur. Sea-Tac Airport workers of all kinds, due to cheapskate wages that allow stratospheric salaries for their employers, work endless overtime, or second or third jobs, just to make ends meet.

Watch at your own risk as Alaska and its corporate brethren keep trying to rewrite the law of nature that says you get what you pay for.

More home-team largesse:

Speaking of Alaska: Sez here the mayor of Anchorage wants to send the city’s heavy drinkers down our way for treatment. OK, but call ahead: There’s only so much space at Schick-Shadel when the Mariners are in season.

Takin’ It Outside: Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Rocky Marciano, suggested during a weekly news conference that he and a reporter “go out in the alleyway and decide who’s weak.” Wow. This guy might have a bit of Dixy Lee Ray in him, after all.

Speaking of Gov. Haymaker: There’s always room in the alleyway for both him and alleged tax-dodging weasel Troy Kelley, the soon-to-be-former state auditor.

Someone Has to Say It: The pending opening at the auditor’s office creates a need for an appointee who’s a seasoned executive, beyond ethical reproach and steeped in the need for accountability. Someone like … former Seattle City Light CEO Jorge “Copper Wire” Carrasco!

This Week’s You-Might-Be-A-Legacy-Citizen-If Test: You own a vehicle capable of hauling something larger than a man purse. You know what and where the Center House is. You own an oyster knife.

And Finally: Much more on this later, but note that University Place will become “the epicenter of the golf world” when the U.S. Open comes to Chambers Bay golf course starting June 15. Local supply lines already are running thin for cognac, cigars and garish polyester pants that might have been worn by feckless agent Reuben Kincaid on “The Partridge Family.”