About 50 baggage handlers and ramp workers – employed by Menzies, Inc – decided to take advantage of a slow news day that generally occurs on a holiday by striking at Sea-Tac Airport on Martin Luther King’s birthday. The workers protested what they say is “the company’s failure to pay them their city-mandated minimum wage.” Via KOMO News,
“The group is demanding the company and Alaska Airlines, which contracts through Menzies, to abide by SeaTac law and pay them $15 an hour. Some workers say they do not make a straight $15 an hour.
“‘Right now, my base pay is $12 an hour but if we clock in on time, we supposedly get an incentive, which comes out to $15,’ said Socrates Bravo, who works for Menzies.”
In September 2015, Alaska Airlines, the Washington Restaurant Association, and airport small businesses Filo Foods and BF Foods filed a motion asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling on the $15 minimum wage law in SeaTac. The court ruled the previous month that the law applies to Seattle Tacoma International Airport even though, technically, the Port of Seattle has jurisdiction over the airport.
The motion to reconsider argues that the court “misinterpreted the state law granting the Port of Seattle exclusive jurisdiction over the airport.” The motion also contends that the $15 minimum wage law “interferes with federal laws regarding the provision of airline services and with federal labor laws.” Additionally, the parties have asked the justices to “allow it to show in trial court that Proposition 1 (the minimum wage law) would interfere with airport operations” should the court refuse to reconsider its stance on the issues.
Until the justices decide on the motion, $15 minimum wage increases at SeaTac Airport are on hold. Unfortunately, that reality hasn’t prevented workers from striking to get the media’s attention.