Monday, August 31, 2015

WASHINGTON STATE SUPREME COURT - SeaTac Looses Minimum Wage Exclusion

Also for the company Greed Files.

"Court gives SeaTac workers a raise after $15 minimum wage exclusion" PBS NewsHour 8/27/2015


SUMMARY:  In SeaTac, Washington, home of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, citizens voted in 2013 to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.  But airport businesses challenged the law in court, excluding 5,000 or so workers from receiving the increased benefits.  Now the State Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the employees.  Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now, how low-paid workers are winning some key battles.

Today, the National Labor Relations Board ruled a large company could be held responsible for labor decisions held by a contractor it hires, even if it doesn’t directly supervise the employee.  That could mean unions may be able to negotiate directly with McDonald’s Corporation, for example, instead of just its franchises.

That win comes after another recent victory over a wage hike at Washington’s Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  The state’s Supreme Court ruled last week that employers must pay workers $15 an hour.  Airport businesses had challenged a 2013 referendum.

Our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, has updated his report.

Here’s a reprise of his Emmy-nominated story.  It’s part of our weekly story Making Sen$e, which airs every Thursday on the news hour.

PAUL SOLMAN (NewsHour):  A lot was at stake last week in SeaTac, Washington, home of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as local citizens decided the fate of a proposition to jack up the minimum wage there to $15 an hour, for thousands of workers, the promise of a huge pay hike, 63 percent if they were making the state minimum of $9.19 an hour, plus paid sick leave, which promised to be a benefit for the flying public as well.

WOMAN:  Every employee that I work with comes to work sick because they have to put food on the table.

ABDIRAHMAN ABDULLAHI, Car Rental Employee:  Imagine you’re flying on an airplane.  The worker who clean up the airplane before you fly, he was sick and he’s cleaning the airplane, imagine you eating on that table, you know?

PAUL SOLMAN:  But higher costs would boomerang against low-income workers, business spokesman Maxford Nelson insisted.

MAXFORD NELSON, The Freedom Foundation:  The workers who retain their jobs might be better off, but an increased number of other workers lose their jobs entirely.

PAUL SOLMAN:  A bitter, costly campaign ensued, a recount, and, in the end, the ayes had it by 77 votes.

But, on decision day, Alaska Airlines, the main opponent of the $15 minimum wage proposition, filed a lawsuit in county court, arguing that a city can’t set ordinances for an airport operating within its borders.

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