In November 2013, voters in the City of SeaTac approved a bellwether living wage initiative in the regional and national movement for economic equity.
Since the start of the recession, the City of SeaTac has experienced millions of dollars in cuts to vital community services. Many SeaTac workers and families struggled to make ends meet as employers continue to cut back on wages, hours, and benefits. Meanwhile, SeaTac airport retailers were racking up record profits at the expense of their employees.
In order to address the need for livable pay and benefits for workers, Sage along with the rest of the Good Jobs Coalition helped draft and push forward a ballot initiative called Proposition 1 to improve job quality and standards for thousands of transportation and hospitality workers in the City of SeaTac.
Sage led the research, policy analysis, small business organizing, community coalition building and faith mobilization. Sage published multiple reports, including First Class Airport, Poverty Class Jobs; Below the Radar; and an Economic Impact Analysis discussing everything from the working conditions at the airport to the overall economic benefits for the city. The reports have garnered both national and international media attention, from outlets such as BBC, CNN, New York Times, NPR, and more.
In addition, Sage was responsible for reaching out and organizing three key groups: local faith leaders, small businesses, and local community members.
One key business leader, Don Liberty, owner of the Bull Pen, a favorite SeaTac pub became the figurehead of small business support and helped turn the tide for local support and votes in favor of Proposition 1.
In November 2013, voters in the City of SeaTac approved the historic living wage ballot initiative.
Although SeaTac's Employment Standards Ordinance is not the first living wage at airports, it has become a bellwether in both a regional and national movement for economic equity. The ordinance's comprehensive benefits ensure that thousands of workers will not only be lifted out of poverty, but also will have better job security and improved working conditions.
In the end, these interlocking benefits and protections are a win-win-win scenario for workers, businesses and the local economy. Workers see better standards, employers see reduced turnover and improved performance, local businesses have more customers, and the local economy sees a $54 million dollar wage boost.
SeaTac's Minimum Employment Standards Ordinance went in effect January 1, 2014.
The true benefit lies not only in the living wage, but the comprehensive benefits and protections included in the language:
$15 Minimum Wage (indexed to inflation) – for covered hotel, car rental, parking and airport service workers.
Paid Sick Days – workers accruing an hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked.
Worker Retention – replacement sub-contracting companies retaining the current workforce for 60 days.
Tips Theft Protection – ensuring that hotel service charges (tips) are paid entirely to workers, not kept by management.
Full Time Work – offering part-time employees the ability to work more hours before hiring new part-time employees.