by Jack Mayne
A hand recount done today at the King County Elections headquarters did not change the outcome of the election so the measure setting a minimum wage of $15 for many employees in SeaTac will go into effect on January 1 unless the losing side manages to get a court order delaying its implementation.
The final recount figures were not immediately available, but recertification of the election returns will be done by the elections agency tomorrow (Dec. 10).
“Close only counts in horseshoes,” said Mike West, co-chair of Common Sense SeaTac, the citizen and business group that opposed the union-backed initiative. “Even though the citizens of SeaTac are narrowly divided on the wisdom of this idea, the businesses now have to prepare for living with this measure.”
Common Sense SeaTac paid for the recount. Final election numbers were Yes 3,040 and No 2,963.
“As we said during the campaign, this measure will have undesirable effects,” West said. “Across some 70 businesses, there are likely to be price increases, layoffs, changes in hiring, as well as the administrative costs expected on the taxpayers of SeaTac. But business managers are innovators and problem-solvers. Collectively we will work with the City to seek the least costly path to implementation and individually each business will work to survive.”
Before the Jan. 1 effective date, there will me movement in the courts from a suit filed by Alaska Airlines, the Port of Seattle, the Washington Public Ports Association, the Washington Restaurant Association, and Filo Foods.
Heather Weiner for the prevailing unions reacted to the legal battle.
“We’re disappointed that corporate lawyers at Alaska Airlines will stop at nothing to block living wages and paid sick days for more than 6,000 people working in the profitable travel industry,” Weiner said.
“Thousands of people working full time jobs at Sea-Tac airport must rely on public assistance to feed their families and pay their heating bills. People doing the exact same jobs for Alaska Airlines at other airports, like San Jose and Los Angeles, make living wages and have paid sick days. Alaska Airlines should do the right thing, the fair thing, and drop its litigation.”
Today’s hand recount of SeaTac Proposition 1 votes verified King County Election’s earlier results. Observers reported viewing no changes to the county’s vote counts.
King County Elections is expected to post the recount results before 4:30 p.m. today and re-certify the Prop 1 vote tomorrow.
SeaTac Proposition 1 is scheduled to go in to effect on January 1, 2014.
King County Superior Court Judge Darvas is scheduled to hold a hearing on Alaska Airlines’ legal challenges this Friday.