The King County elections department has verified signatures for a new initiative in the City of SeaTac that would promote living wage jobs. Several weeks ago 40 Sea-Tac workers, residents, business owners, faith leaders, and labor organizers handed the signatures to the SeaTac City Council.
Puget Sound Sage’s Below the Radar report, released in March, revealed that Sea-Tac airport has substandard working conditions compared to four major West Coast airports that have taken action to address the adverse effects of low-wage jobs and outsourcing. The initiative adopts many of the recommended workforce standards outlined in the report.
If adopted the initiative would cover SeaTac transportation and hospitality workers and ensure that they receive paid sick leave and earn a living wage of at least $15 an hour. For existing part-time workers it would allow the opportunity for full-time employment, and would require contractors taking over for another business to retain existing employees for at least 90 days. It would additionally stop employers from holding onto “service charges” and tips that workers are owed.
So which workers would benefit? The new policy would cover low-wage SeaTac transportation workers, including baggage handlers, passenger services workers, cabin cleaners, aircraft rulers, security staff in and around the airport, private car rental and parking lot services, as well as many SeaTac hospitality workers who work hotels within or at the airport. Small businesses that have fewer than 10 workers, hotels with less than 30 workers, and other businesses with fewer than 25 workers would not be affected.
Follow Sound Progress to find out more about what is in the initiative and what it would do. Howard Greenwich, Puget Sound Sage Research and Policy Director, will be posting an analysis in early July. In the meantime, read the recent Opinion Editorial in the Puget Sound Business Journal, Wages: Sea-Tac’s self-inflicted wound.