People in the City of SeaTac could vote this November on an initiative that would create a $15 an hour hour minimum wage for thousands of workers at Sea-Tac airport and other places. The so-called “Good Jobs Initiative” would apply to about 6,500 workers in transportation and hospitality jobs in the City of SeaTac. Tuesday night, the SeaTac City Council decided to allow the measure to go before voters.
Heather Weiner, a spokeswoman for the group behind the initiative, said the measure is needed to help a struggling workforce. “We see so many people who work at Sea-Tac airport living in poverty conditions, being forced to work overtime to make ends meet. In fact a lot of them work two jobs at the airport, just to make ends meet,” she said.
The initiative is opposed by some businesses that work out of the airport. They say the Port of Seattle places restrictions on what they can charge and they can’t afford to pay $15 an hour without making cutbacks. The current minimum wage is $9.19. Bob Donegan, president of the Ivars restaurant chain, said if it passes he would have to think about layoffs or reducing benefits.
Alaska Airlines, the Washington Restaurant Association and two other companies have filed a lawsuit that seeks to keep the initiative from appearing on the ballot.
Besides raising the minimum wage the measure would also require that businesses offer paid sick leave, among other things.