Topic: minimum wage
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November 16, 2013 at 8:29 PM
By The Associated Press
A ballot measure that seeks to establish a $15-an-hour minimum wage for many workers in SeaTac is leading by 46 votes.
After Saturday’s ballot drop, Proposition 1 was passing with 2,936 “yes” votes compared to 2,890 “no” votes.
On election night, it was leading by a 261-vote margin — a decent gap in a race that’s likely to draw maybe 6,000 total votes.
Washington has the nation’s highest state minimum wage at $9.19 an hour; the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
November 14, 2013 at 4:42 PM
For the first time since election night, SeaTac’s minimum-wage proposal padded its lead Thursday.
Proposition 1, which would institute a $15-per-hour minimum wage for airport-related workers, led by 53 votes in an afternoon vote update.
That may not sound like much, but it’s more than the 19-vote lead the measure held Wednesday.
There are now 2,837 votes supporting the measure (50.47 percent) and 2,784 against it (49.53 percent).
On Thursday, the proposal won 62 percent of the 142 counted votes.
Both sides say a recount is all but certain, although it would have to be financed by one of the campaigns.
The new wage would affect roughly 6,300 hospitality and transportation workers in and around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It also guarantees annual inflation adjustments, paid sick leave and tip protection.
November 5, 2013 at 7:16 AM
UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.: A SeaTac ballot measure to create a $15-an-hour minimum wage for airport-related workers took a narrow lead in initial results Tuesday.
With 3,283 votes counted, SeaTac Proposition 1 led 54 percent to 46 percent — a difference of only 261 votes in a city with 12,100 registered voters.
At a campaign event in SeaTac, supporters were optimistic that uncounted votes would go their way.
“This means that the people who put fuel in jets may actually be able to buy a ticket on one,” said David Rolf, a vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
But Proposition 1 opponents said the race was too close to call.
Washington’s mail-in voting system means ballots will continue to arrive after Tuesday, and the outcome might not be known until Friday, said Scott Ostrander, general manager of Cedarbrook Lodge in SeaTac.
“It’s a really small margin,” said Ostrander, co-chair of a business-backed political committee opposed to Proposition 1. “We’re estimating there’s probably 6,500 to 6,800 ballots out there, and we’ve only probably seen about 50 percent.”
ORIGINAL POST: SeaTac voters today will decide whether to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for hospitality and transportation workers in and around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. That rate represents a 63 percent increase from Washington’s hourly minimum rate of $9.19, which will rise on Jan. 1 to $9.32, the highest of any state.
Proposition 1 also calls for annual increases tied to inflation, paid sick leave and tip protection. It would require employers to offer part-time workers more hours before hiring additional part-timers and to keep employees for at least three months after an ownership change.
The ballot measure would take effect Jan. 1, covering roughly 6,300 workers at 72 airport-related businesses in SeaTac, including hotels, car-rental companies and parking lots.
Supporters of Prop. 1 say it would lift minimum-wage workers out of poverty, give them more money to spend at local businesses and boost the economy. Opponents say it would force businesses to raise prices and cut staff, and would leave taxpayers footing the bill for enforcement costs.
Prop. 1 is part of a broader national debate about rising income inequality and government’s role in improving workers’ wages. It also reflects a desire by organized labor to reinvent itself and reverse a decades-long decline in union membership: Prop. 1 is supported by labor groups, and includes a waiver for employers with union contracts.
November 4, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Take it from someone whose job includes ambushing politicians with uncomfortable questions: you must always watch for the second door.
Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant failed to do that this afternoon, dooming her plan to ask current council members entering their regularly scheduled meeting to sign a pledge to increase the minimum wage.
Sawant and several supporters were waiting, oversized pledge in hand, outside council chambers as the 2 p.m. meeting start time approached, arrived and ticked past.
“Somehow they found another way to go inside,” campaign director Philip Locker breathlessly announced two minutes after 2, adding, “they have a secret door!”
The group then hurried inside to speak during public testimony.
October 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM
The idea of a $15 minimum wage continues to build momentum in the Seattle area, with Mayor Mike McGinn saying he would support an effort to set the standard even higher.
In an interview with The Associated Press, McGinn said he thought $15 was a “fair starting point” for the minimum wage discussion. He cautioned that the issue was best handled legislatively and that the actual number would be determined by city council members.
“If the council proposed a higher number, I’d support that,” said McGinn, who is seeking re-election next month.
He added later: “I would expect that, if re-elected, we would put together a coalition to figure out how far we could go on the minimum wage.”
McGinn challenger Ed Murray recently announced that he would push for a $15 minimum wage but planned to proceed with a phased-in approach. Washington already has the nation’s highest state minimum wage at $9.19 an hour, while San Francisco is the local jurisdiction with the highest hourly standard at $10.55.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and advocates have been pressing nationwide to push the number higher. In a small effort in the Seattle suburb of SeaTac, union-backed advocates were successful in getting a ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
August 29, 2013 at 9:47 AM
But Inslee’s office says he has no plans at this point to push for the central demand being made by the workers: a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
“I don’t think he’s ready to support something around a specific dollar amount,” said spokeswoman Jaime Smith. “He is voicing support for bringing attention to the issue. The conversation about what a living wage is is one worth having.”
Washington has the highest state minimum wage in the country at $9.19 an hour. The wage is automatically adjusted annually to keep up with inflation, thanks to an initiative overwhelmingly approved by voters in 1998.
August 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM
A proposal to raise the wages of workers in and around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has drawn national attention — and big cash is starting to follow.
There are just 11,852 registered voters in the city of SeaTac eligible to vote Nov. 5 on an initiative setting a $15-hour minimum wage for thousands of airport, hotel, car rental and other employees.
Supporters and opponents of the measure already have raised $440,000 combined for the looming battle — about $37 per voter.
Common Sense Sea Tac, a business-funded political-action committee seeking to defeat the union-backed measure, has raised more than $243,000, according to reports filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC).
That includes $75,000 from the American Car Rental Association, $50,000 from a PAC representing state hotel owners and $15,000 each from Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association.
Supporters of the wage law, organized as Yes! For SeaTac, have raised more than $197,000. That includes $50,000 from the state council of the Service Employees International Union and $25,000 from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
In addition to a $15 minimum wage for airport-related businesses, the initiative would require employers to provide paid sick leave and offer jobs to part-time workers before hiring new full-time employees. If an affected business is sold, the new owner would be required to retain existing employees for at least 90 days. Those requirements can all be waived if a business agrees to a collective bargaining agreement with a union.
Supporters of the law say airport workers deserve a living wage and argue it will benefit businesses where those workers shop. But opponents argue it will harm businesses and lead to fewer jobs for low-wage workers.
Seattle Times business reporter Amy Martinez had a roundup of the debate among business owners, workers and others over the initiative last month.
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