December 12 marked the 65th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Probably most of us think first of human rights on the political level: the rights of people, especially of political prisoners across the world, to speak, assemble and write, free of government constraint.
In Seattle a group of about 100 workers, community, labor and faith leaders celebrated Human Rights Day at Seattle International Airport (SEATAC) in a different context. We were there in support of airport workers subcontracted by Alaska Airlines, which is based here: baggage handlers, wheelchair operators, cabin cleaners and aircraft fuelers. As we paraded by the Alaska ticket counters we adapted and chanted phrases of the U.N. Declaration: “…May everyone have the right to just wages…May everyone have the right to human dignity.
Socrates, a baggage ramp employee who works for Menzies Aviation, the subcontractor (and a multinational company that contracts with airlines in 29 countries),