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December 28, 2013 11:11 AM SeaTac Blow Still Vindicates Minimum Wage Hike

By Martin Longman

If you have been following the national effort to raise the minimum wage, you will be interested to see this:

King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas issued a bittersweet decision today (pdf) that upholds most of SeaTac Proposition while ruling that the $15 minimum wage initiative does not apply to airport workers. If Judge Darvas’s ruling survives the inevitable appeal, Prop 1’s provisions will apply to about 1,600 workers at large hotels and car lots within the City of SeaTac, but not to the roughly 4,700 people who work for contractors, concessionaires, and car rental companies on airport property.

The Seattle-Tacoma Airport is owned and operated by the Port of Seattle, which has apparently been arguing in recent years that it does not have the legal authority to raise the minimum wage. This judge found differently.

More significantly, the judge dismissed all the other arguments against using a voter initiative to raise the minimum wage in the town of SeaTac, which means that the minimum wage could be raised by initiative in Seattle, or other jurisdictions in Washington state.

The SeaTac minimum wage initiative passed with a 77 vote margin, and creates the highest minimum wage in the country.

Martin Longman is the Web Editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune. He has worked as a community organizer for ACORN/Project Vote and as a political consultant for Democracy for America.

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