Voters in the city of SeaTac, WA went to the polls on Tuesday and decided that they wanted to have minimum wage for transportation workers and hospitality workers raised to $15 per hour.
In Washington, where the state minimum wage is $9.19, all precincts in the SeaTac approved SeaTac Proposition 1 by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin. Of course, the final results are still pending because of mail-in voting ballots. The proposition also has provisions that secure tip protection and paid sick leave.
“People have been waiting a really long time for this,” Service Employees International Union president, David Rolf. “for the first time in many years, the people who put fuel in jets might just be able to buy a ticket on one.”
The pay increase would mainly focus on those who work in and around the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Supporters bolster the positive effect that SeaTac Prop 1 will have on the local economy. Obviously and expectedly, labor unions backed the legislation while it experienced heavy opposition from business organizations. However, beyond labor and business groups, other municipal politicians have taken notice of the law.
Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who recently lost the mayoral race to opponent Ed Murray, supports, as does Murray, a $15 minimum wage in Seattle.
Quite recently, there have been major initiatives and movements to improve the rights, wages, and benefits of low-wage workers across the country.
Beginning in early summer this year, in many cities, fast food workers went on strike demanding a raise to $15 an hour, a living wage in major metropolitan areas. California expanded the rights of domestic workers, who are usually immigrants, by giving them added benefits like mandatory breaks and overtime compensation.
States and several cities have also extended paid sick leave to workers, much similarly to the provision in SeaTac Proposition 1.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.