$15 SeaTac minimum wage challenged in court

SEATTLE — A King County Superior Court judge declined Friday to immediately rule on a challenge to the voter-approved $15 an hour minimum wage requirement for airport workers in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Judge Andrea Darvas said she’ll issue a ruling with reasoning after Christmas Day but before January 1. Parties in the case had been expecting a ruling Friday.

The measure is scheduled to go into effect on January 1.

Last month voters in the city of SeaTac narrowly approved the measure, which would require a $15 minimum wage, a handful of paid sick days and other standards to around 6,000 workers at the airport and related industries, like hotels and rental car companies.

However, the legal fight over the measure is not expected to end with Darvas’ ruling. An eventual appeal to the state Supreme Court could come from either side, depending on her ruling.

The challenge to the newly approved measure is being led by Alaska Airlines Group and other businesses. They say that an initiative approved by city residents doesn’t have power over the airport, which is operated by the Port of Seattle. The Port of Seattle, a public entity, agrees.

Alaska Airlines Group also says state law prohibits initiatives from packaging laws. So they’re arguing that the multiple requirements in the measure, such as the minimum wage and paid sick days, constitute packaging multiple laws into one initiative.

In all, $1.8 million were spent in total during the campaign season. Alaska Airlines Group donated heavily to defeat the measure, while labor groups supported the proposal.

Supporters dismissed the business group’s court arguments, saying that ports don’t enact social welfare laws, but rather cities do. They say increasing the minimum wage is needed to make a living in the area where wages haven’t kept up with inflation and rising housing costs. A group of labor-backed demonstrators rallied outside the courthouse on Friday as well.

Washington has the nation’s highest state minimum wage at $9.19 an hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

More in Local News

Woman badly burned in north Everett house fire

Two men escaped unharmed from the burning home on Lombard Avenue.

House passes ban on bump-fire stocks

If the Senate approves, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign it into law.

Man charged with rape, manslaughter of teen dying from overdose

Brian Roberto Varela’s arraignment is scheduled for Monday.

Unitarian Universalist Congregation puts faith to work

Its “religiously liberal” members are open to differing creeds and doctrines.

Aid crews get a dose of digital medicine

iPad app does the math for them so aid crews are free to treat children

Boy, 15, pleads guilty to kicking death of teen in Marysville

Prosecutors are seeking 30 days behind bars, which is the higher end of what’s allowed for minors.

No injuries after fire ravages vacant Marysville house

Firefighters could not prevent flames from causing damage throughout the interior of the home.

Spikes put end to ride from Seattle to Everett in stolen car

Two men were taken into custody at the bottom of Marine View Drive off I-5.

2 arrested after Marysville shooting leaves man brain dead

The victim had shown 1 suspect — a friend — a stack of money he won at the casino, police said.

Most Read