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Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 8, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Port of Seattle says trucker access to restrooms is a safety issue

Port lacks respect

Seattle's port truckers, who generally deal with abysmal working conditions, are dissatisfied with the port-a-potties at Terminal 30. A few of them were assaulted or blocked last year when trying to use the real bathrooms that longshoremen use.

Seattle’s port truckers, who generally deal with abysmal working conditions, are dissatisfied with the port-a-potties at Terminal 30. A few of them were assaulted or blocked last year when trying to use the real bathrooms that longshoremen use.

What is it about the Port of Seattle that leaves even the jaded shaking their heads in disbelief [Port faces port-a-potty dispute with truckers,” page one, April 2]? Even with their long history of backroom no-bid contracts, inflated salaries, lack of oversight, and general indifference to the workers, they still manage to lower the bar even further.Cam Williams, president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19, suggests this is a safety issue. Yet, a business that moves billions of dollars in cargo can’t find a way to move their truckers across traffic lanes without personal risks? Even better, find it in the budget to build a respectable washroom.

As Tesfaghaber Berhane, one of the truckers, commented, washing your hands seems like “a minimum requirement for human beings.” Apparently not anymore. This is a small blip on the radar for a business with such a vast history of dysfunction and arrogance .Yet, it should give us all pause. What kind of business-culture breeds such indifference to such a simple gesture of respect? As Mr. Berhane reminds us, “We are human beings.” Why is this kind of disregard for basic decency acceptable,for anyone?

Even as we speak, I suspect Port officials are in the washrooms washing their hands of the whole affair.

Ray Munger, Seattle

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