Earlier this week the Port of Seattle Commission officially approved the airport minimum wage proposal I first wrote about here:
Minimum total compensation would start at 13.72 an hour in 2015, with a minimum cash wage of $11.22, and rise to $15.50 an hour in 2017, with a minimum cash wage of $13. In addition, airport workers would be guaranteed a minimum of 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked.
It only covers about 3,500 workers with access to restricted areas, and it’s certainly not as good as the $15 minimum wage approved last November by City of SeaTac voters (and still wending its way through the courts). But my guess is that had Alaska Airlines and its contractors agreed to something like this a year ago, there never would have been a $15 minimum wage initiative in SeaTac, and thus there likely wouldn’t have been a $15 minimum wage in Seattle. So thank you, Alaska Airlines, for the unintended consequences of your anti-labor intransigence!
Whatever. The Washington State Supreme Court has heard oral arguments, and should decide by the end of the year whether Sea-Tac Airport is exempt from the City of SeaTac’s voter approved $15 minimum wage ordinance. If the court rules in favor of the City of SeaTac, then all Sea-Tac Airport workers will immediate start earning a minimum of $15 an hour, and probably receive backpay to January 1. If the court rules in favor of Alaska and the other plaintiffs, well then I suppose the Port Commission’s new minimum wage (after years of claiming it lacked the legal authority to set a minimum wage) is better than a kick in the teeth, and a political victory in itself.