The holiday interlude brought a mixed blessing from Seattle —that’s the positive spin, frankly—in the form of King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas’ ruling in the SeaTac minimum wage case. The complaint, officially named BF Foods v. City of SeaTac, concerns Proposition 1, a ballot initiative adopted by the voters of the City of SeaTac last November, that raised wages to $15 an hour for airport and hotel workers.
Opposition to the measure was rather heated, as opponents sued to keep the matter off the ballot. Having failed in that endeavor, they spent big money to defeat it. Having lost, a recount, which did not change the results. After which, this suit.
The main litigant, according to press reports, is Alaska Airlines; they cleverly brought in the Port of Seattle, which runs the airport. The legal approach here was something of a kitchen sink strategy,
‘Tis the season of miracles.
That’s not a phrase that sits easily with the modern mind. Nevertheless, the stories with which we mark this time of year all contain gestures, unexpected motions and things hoped for — but that are not at all certain or even vaguely possible. The lamp held enough oil for a couple of days at most, but it stays lit for eight – until more can be brought from a distance. A peasant sees the Virgin Mary but, of course, the local bishop doesn’t believe that such a simple person would be visited by Her, but another vision accompanied by long-stemmed red roses convinces him. A poor working family bears a child in circumstances no middle class American can quite grasp, and people think this one will be the liberator of his people. Those are miracles.
Of course, these stories update a deeper and even older human experience when the ancients awaited the sun’s return.
Last week the voter-approved $15 minimum wage set for airport-related workers near the town of SeaTac, Washington, survived a recount and is now supposed to go into effect on January 1. The win sets a new standard for pay and benefits for hospitality and transportation workers, and will bring much-needed financial relief for low-wage workers who cater to millions of travelers at one of the country’s busiest international airports. SeaTac’s Proposition 1, which voters initially approved last month, will bring much-needed improvements to the lives of more than 6,300 workers who currently bring home less than $1,500 per month on average. Backers of the historic measure say the new minimum wage for SeaTac workers will stimulate the local economy to the tune of $54 million per year.
Predictably, the corporate interests who’ve so far ended up on the losing side have no intention of simply bowing down to the will of the city’s voters.