LETTER: ‘How is it helpful to criticize businesses in our own community?’
I read with concern an Opinion article published in the August 21, 2012 Seattle Times by fellow SeaTac City Council member Mia Gregerson, “Alaska Airlines should hire contractors that pay a living wage.”
I want to clarify that as a council member, Gregerson in her article does not represent my opinion as a SeaTac Council member.
This is my opinion:
- The term ‘poverty wage’ used by Gregerson is an emotional hot button phrase employed by Working Washington, OneAmerica, Faith Action Network and Puget Sound Sage, using their freedom of speech to further their agenda and incite worker job dissatisfaction.
And here are some facts:
- Washington State’s legislated minimum wage is $9.04 –it is not something that employers have ‘made up in their heads’ to try to demean employees.
- Ours is the highest minimum wage of any state in the country. Per the United States Department of Labor website, there are 10 states, of which Washington is one, that have minimum wages that are linked to a consumer price index… Additionally, If Federal and State law have different minimum wage rates, the higher standard applies (http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/America.htm#Washington).
- Los Angeles Airport is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles; Sea-Tac Airport is owned and operated by the Port of Seattle. The two are not the same models, as the Gregerson article suggests.
- During a meeting with the Port and Port Commissioners I learned that there are Federal regulations which prohibit the Port itself from interfering in vendor or subcontractor employee relations.
Now I am no ‘economic scholar’ either, but I have been a small business owner in this free country whose economic system is Capitalism based and which operates on the premise of hard work, risk, entrepreneurship, property rights and free market—and I embrace those economic attributes.
It is my opinion that this is the best country in the world in which to live. I have faith that our economy can turn around, but right now the road is rocky and there are people still losing their jobs. So ask yourself this:
- How is it helpful to criticize businesses in our own community, like Alaska Airlines, who are keeping people employed–in our own community and beyond?
Those who are convinced that minimum wage jobs are ‘poverty- wage’ jobs might use their freedom of speech to lobby the legislature rather than stir up distrust between employers and employees, and create dismay, dissatisfaction and division in our community.
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