Thanks to hard work from Seattle-based Partnership affiliate, Puget Sound Sage, and community allies, the King County elections department has recently verified that the SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative has achieved adequate signatures from SeaTac residents to qualify for an upcoming ballot. Two weeks ago 40 Sea-Tac workers, residents, business owners, faith leaders and labor leaders handed 2,500 signatures to the SeaTac City Council. Supporters gathered them in less than a month, demonstrating broad, popular support for living wages for airport, hotel and transportation workers.
Puget Sound Sage’s Below the Radar report, released in March, revealed that many Sea-Tac Airport workers endure substandard working conditions compared to their counterparts at other major West Coast airports. Unlike Sea-Tac Airport, those airports have set minimum standard to address the adverse effects of low-wage jobs and outsourcing. Also, check out this op-ed in the Puget Sound Business Journal, Wages: Sea-Tac's self-inflicted wound.
The initiative covers an estimated 6,500 SeaTac transportation and hospitality workers, most of whom earn very low wages and have few or no benefits. The Good Jobs Initiative, would provide several benefits and protections to workers, including paid sick leave, an opportunity for full-time employment to current part-time employees, and a living wage of at least $15/hour. It would also stop employers from holding onto "service charges" and tips that workers are owed and require contractors taking over for another business retain existing employees for at least 90 days.
The initiative would benefit many groups of workers that welcome or assist visitors to our region, including airport baggage handlers, passenger service workers, cabin cleaners, aircraft cleaners, security staff in and around the airport, car rental workers, parking lot attendants, and shuttle drivers as well as many SeaTac hospitality workers who work within or near the airport. Small businesses that have fewer than 10 workers, hotels with less than 30 workers, and other businesses with fewer than 25 workers would not be affected.