News Story – First Draft
Sea-Tac – Washington high court to consider SeaTac wages and 3000 workers at Sea-Tac will likely get a wage increase.
The Washington Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday on whether a voter-approved initiative to raise the minimum wage in SeaTac to $15 an hour should apply to workers at the airport. Actually, The Port of Seattle Commission introduced a proposal Tuesday to raise the minimum wage to $11.22 in January and $13 in January 2017 for airfield-support workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. But the wage increase: the latest push in the region to raise the minimum wage would apply to about 3,000 employees, including those who check in passengers, handle cargo and baggage, and workers such as wheelchair attendants and those involved in catering, cleaning, maintenance, fueling, dispatching and security.
If the measure passes, the total minimum hourly compensation — including tips as well as health, retirement and educational benefits would equal $15.50, starting in January 2017. Workers in restaurants and concessions would not be covered by the increase.
Commission Co-President Courtney Gregoire said the Port would look at the wages of those employees next when concession contracts come up but first had to address airfield-support workers, because of high turnover in that group. That turnover, she said, is a safety and security risk. Gregoire also said the proposed wage increase, along with benefits, was within the Port’s means. And In the case of the SeaTac ordinance, King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas ruled at the end of December that it does not apply to the airport because the Port of Seattle, not the city of SeaTac, controls it.
Darvas said the state Legislature has given municipalities like the Port of Seattle “exclusive jurisdiction” over their operations. She ruled the law does apply to about 1,600 hotel and parking lot workers in SeaTac, but not to...