Suspenseful holiday season for SeaTac minimum wage

by: Essex Porter Updated:

SEATTLE, Wash —

It’s going to be a holiday season of suspense for both sides in the battle over the city of SeaTac’s new $15-an-hour minimum wage.

The initiative creating the higher minimum wage survived a hand recount with a margin of 77 votes. But now, opponents led by Alaska Airlines and the other businesses affected have asked King County Judge Andrea Darvas to declare the law invalid because it violates the law prohibiting initiatives from covering more than one subject. 

“It doesn't just say there's going to be a new minimum wage,” said Harry Korrell, the lead lawyer opposing the initiative.”The minimum wage is specifically set at $15 an hour, it’s specifically tied to inflation increases, it doesn't just identify a sick-time safe-time leave entitlement, it actually goes so far in the title to identify the accrual rate of 1 hour in 40.” 

But supporters say the multiple provisions of the law are designed to reach the same overall goal. 

“It all helps that worker.They need full-time work, not part-time work,” said Dimitri Iglitzin, lead lawyer for the law’s supporters. “They need paid sick and safe leave. They need $15 an-hour, and if their particular contractor loses their position at the airport, they need to be able to keep their job.” 

Judge Darvas said the issues were too complex to rule from the bench. She said she’ll strive to rule before the higher minimum wage is supposed to take effect on New Year’s Day, perhaps even before Christmas.