UPDATE: SeaTac’s $15 minimum wage initiative passes – by hand recount

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.


8 Responses to “UPDATE: SeaTac’s $15 minimum wage initiative passes – by hand recount”
  1. Earl Gipson says:

    Its a sad day where our small City was singled out for a Labor Union experiment. In 2011 the unions bought three of our Council members (they know who they are) but at least we know now what the unions were really after.

    Our City was projected to have a 5 million dollar shortfall in 2017 BEFORE Prop #1. That’s a LOT for a City of our size. Now we will have another million in annual admin costs of this proposition (9 pages of details for those who didn’t read it) and no revenue to pay for it.

    Be aware the SeaTac City Council could have enacted this without voter approval so good luck Seattle, you’re next.

  2. Michael T Kovacs says:

    The monsters of SeaTac and King County Council have come to life at $15.00/hour. I hope Seattle gets their treatment and can see their money get drained next out of their property and wallets. Cool! Destruction and demise of Western Washington.

  3. Whats the big deal? says:

    Jeeeeeez calm down people.

    The multi-million dollar Airline & Hotel corporations can afford to throw a couple extra crumbs to the workers who help them earn huge profits every year.

    Non airport related businesses will profit from people having more money to spend at their business.

    What’s the big deal???????

    • Michael T Kovacs says:

      The big deal is that if the Friday court hearing if logic prevails will shut down this law. If it does not the bigger deal is that on December 31 all people will be fired and only the people worth $15.00/hour will hired. And the big deal is that they will work double hard and fired for lack of performance. Thats the big deal, big deal Mac and Cheeseburger with greasy fries.

    • Janice Taylor says:

      The reason this atrocious piece of legislation passed was because people like you naively see it as a way of “sticking it to the man.” But legislating from the bottom up accomplishes nothing. Corporations run according to their stock prices, and to maintain or raise those prices, they simply will pass the cost of Prop 1 on to the consumers. Business as usual. Of course, they CAN afford a few crumbs, but they won’t throw them. Restaurants, on a good day, come away with 2-3% profit, with employee costs making up 50% of their expenses. (I just wrote an article for the restaurant industry, so I know my numbers.) They, too, will pass increases to the consumers. The people who will really suffer are people like me–the barely making it middle class who makes too much for any public assistance, but not enough to cover across the board price increases. We’re not getting a 63% pay raise. Plus, the “new found” wealth of the minimum wage workers will be lost on the increased prices AND the services they no longer will qualify for because they now make too much money.
      If you want some degree of “social justice”, your battle will be to legislate from the top down. When I was in college in the 70’s, the average CEO made 40 times his average employee. Today, that number is close to 400 times. Yes, a CEO makes more in one day than his average employee does in a year. Personally, I don’t think any CEO is worth that—after all, his minions do the actual work to make him look good. But people who hold stock want to see a quarterly return. And since most pension/savings plans are tied to corporate performance. Well, you figure it out. So, there’s your battle.

  4. Doris Cassan says:

    Does anyone see this issue as I do? It is about power. Most of the SeaTac Council and some of the staff have been a part of this initiative from the beginning. And it is not about the interests of the citizens of SeaTac but the interests (power) of outsiders. SeaTac wants more power over the Port of Seattle, more power over the businesses and its tax payers. Even this blog (free speech) was shut down, determining who has the power. This is just another venue where government can get involved with private enterprise, pitting employees against the employer, pitting government against the businesses and pitting government entities against each other. Such a outstanding way to promote an atmosphere whereby employers and employees can succeed.

    • Janice Taylor says:

      Well, the Port of Seattle FINALLY came out notifying the City of Seatac that what they are trying to do violates state law. (But so did the signature counting on this initiative’s petition). Yes, it’s a power play. Sadly, many in Seatac gov’t treat the airport like the only game in town. I guess they find it easier to push their agenda rather than encourage other business. I live in Seatac, but work in Seattle and shop mostly in Burien and Tukwila. As do most of my neighbors. Prop 1 is nothing but an ugly piece of illegal legislation pushed by clueless people.