LETTER: ‘Good Jobs in SeaTac initiative will destroy a lot of good jobs…’

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff:]

Dear Editor:

Last night I watched ALL of the public comment from the 07/23 RCM at http://www.seatvonline.com/

One of the most prominent arguments used by many proponents at the 07/23 public hearing: their claim that hospitality-industry employers who impose an 18% or 20% service charge on large groups are “pocketing” the money rather than paying it to the workers who would normally earn it as “tips”.

If this claim that SeaTac employers are deliberately, willfully withholding payment to workers of tip income derived from mandatory “service charges” is verifiable, then WHY AREN’T THEY TAKING THIS COMPLAINT UP WITH LABOR & INDUSTRIES??

If this claim is verifiable, why aren’t the affected workers bringing this issue of alleged employer swiping of “automatic service charge” gratuities away from the rank-and-file service employees to the attention of state lawmakers?

If this claim is verifiable, why hasn’t this issue been submitted for reporting by media such as the KOMO Problem Solvers, KING/5’s Get Jesse, KING/5 Investigators, KIRO/7, KCPQ/13 or even national media such as USA Today, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc.?

Something makes me wonder whether the folks who are making these allegations against SeaTac’s hospitality employers are being completely truthful and factually honest with the public.

I have a very deep and real concern about the working poor. I’d like to hear suggestions from the public that don’t involve a massive expansion of govt bureaucracy and imposing a heavier burden on taxpayers.

Examples of possible solutions that I would put out there as real solutions to relieve poverty:

1. Congress should increase the tax-deductibility – perhaps even offering an actual tax credit – for financial contributions by individuals or businesses to community food banks – increasing the amount of food actually available to feed the hungry;

2. Congress should increase the Federal earned income credit, and in particular increase the EITC amounts available for single adults without children. I know a lot of these people – single adults without children are in a “no-man’s-land” where they earn too much for food stamps, they earn too much for low-income medical and dental clinics or Medicaid, they earn too much for low-income housing, and so forth;

3. The Legislature should work with local governments including the City of SeaTac to expand the availability of low-cost, bare-bones basic “dormitory” type housing – with shared bathrooms, shared kitchens, etc. – for adults who cannot afford to pay market-based rents for typical apartment units but who need a clean, safe, warm roof over their head.

I’m sure readers of the SeaTac Blog can offer many more solutions than I can list in this letter. I want to be very clear, I do care a lot about helping fellow citizens live decent lives and not get trapped indefinitely in poverty. I trust many of you feel the same way.

But there’s absolutely no way in heck that SeaTac voters should be steamrollered into a draconian, over-reaching employment standards ordinance. Not only is the $15 hour minimum wage absurd, but the comprehensive list of employment standards creates horrific compliance headaches.

Also, I want to thank Councilmember Fernald for publicly reading aloud at the Public Hearing most of my e-mailed letter that I sent to the entire City Council.

This “Good Jobs in SeaTac” initiative will destroy a lot of “good jobs” – such as wiping out jobs at businesses like locally-owned Cedarbrook Lodge and many other locally-owned hotels, restaurants and hospitality-related businesses. The so called “Good Jobs In SeaTac” initiative WILL cause many hotels and restaurants to relocate just across the border to Tukwila and other neighboring communities.

– Ronald L. Bensley, Jr.

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]


3 Responses to “LETTER: ‘Good Jobs in SeaTac initiative will destroy a lot of good jobs…’”
  1. Michael T Kovacs says:


    Agree they should take it to the legal level. The legal system is their for a purpose to help retreive those wages back if taken unlawfully!


  2. Ron Bensley, Jr. says:

    Shortly after submitting this, I submitted a slightly revised letter to the editor of the local print newspaper which has published it. In particular, I’m worried about the adverse impact on locally-owned franchise owners of “name brand” corporations. Below is my key revision:

    This “Good Jobs in SeaTac” initiative will destroy a lot of “good jobs”. It will harm many locally-owned hospitality and transportation-related businesses including Cedarbrook Lodge, the Jet Motel, and many of the “name brand”-affiliated businesses which are actually LOCALLY OWNED franchisees of “name brand” companies.

  3. Michael T Kovacs says:

    Ugly started when the unions purchased three of our Council members in 2011.

    Ugly started when the unions (specifically SEIU and the Teamsters) decided they
    wanted City governments to participate, in their desperation, to obtain Union
    membership via tactics that are far less than ethical.

    Ugly started when radical outside interests threaten people at SeaTac Council
    meetings who wanted to speak out against government administration of private
    sector employment hiring.

    Ugly started when people not eligible to even sign a petition sign it anyway
    with no repercussions.

    No folks ugly is just going to get uglier if this passes and we find those
    needing jobs can’t find them and turn to illegal methods of supporting their
    families. So much for the SeaTac that could have been.

    Did anyone expect SeaTac businesses, when their very livelihoods are at stake,
    to just roll over an play dead?