Packed house debates SeaTac minimum wage measure

UPDATE:Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association failed Friday, July 19 to convince a King County Superior Court judge to halt the SeaTac council from placing the measure on the Nov. 5 ballot.


There was only a week’s notice but the place was packed.

Proponents and opponents of a proposed ordinance that would set a minimum wage of $15 per hour and other employment conditions for some airport transportation and hospitality workers testified at SeaTac City Council chambers on July 16 in a town hall meeting.

The SeaTac City Council is expected on July 23 to formally put the measure on the Nov. 5 SeaTac election ballot. Because the initiative received the required amount of petition signatures, the lawmakers only other choice would have been to adopted the ordinance outright without a citizens’ vote. They refused to do that at their July 9 study session.

Two separate proceedings on Friday, July 19 could halt the council’s action. One is a review of the validity of the signatures by King County Elections. Aug. 6 is the deadline for placing measures on the November ballot.


Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the SeaTac City Council from sending the airport workers minimum-wage Initiative to voters later this fall.

The lawsuit from Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association asks the King County Superior Court to prohibit “the City of SeaTac and the City Clerk from taking any further steps to place the proposed Ordinance before the City Council for action or any other steps to forward the proposed Ordinance to King County for placement on a ballot for any election.”


Alaska’s lawsuits specifically ask the court to order the City of SeaTac to pay for the “Plaintiffs’ costs and attorneys’ fees” for filing the lawsuit.

Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association, represented by corporate law firm Davis, Wright, Tremaine, filed their demands for an immediate injunction on July 8th. They are joined by Filo Foods and BF Foods, two Sea-Tac Airport concessionaires.


A proposed ordinance that would set a minimum wage of $15 per hour and other employment conditions for some airport transportation and hospitality workers will be on SeaTac’s Nov. 5 general election ballot.

SeaTac council members placed the ordinance on the ballot Tuesday, July 9 after declining to adopt it without a vote by residents. Because a petition with sufficient signatures was filed with King County Elections, SeaTac council members were required to either adopt the ordinance outright or send it on to the ballot.

City Attorney Mary Mirante Bartolo and Councilmember Dave Bush emphasized that city officials did not generate the proposed ordinance. The ordinance was proposed and signatures gathered by a group called SeaTac Committee for Good Jobs.

A special “town hall” meeting will be held July 16, 5:30 p.m., at SeaTac City Hall to hear public comments about the proposed ordinance.

County Elections officially validates signatures for SeaTac initiative

The SeaTac City Council will take action on the jobs initiative on July 23.

The action will take place at the council's regular meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 4800 S. 188th St.

The public will be allowed to make comments at the start of the meeting. Because King County Elections has certified that the initiative petition received enough signatures, the council must place the measure on the November ballot or adopt it outright.

The council will also discuss the initiative at its study session July 9 at 4 p.m. The session at City Hall is open to the public. Public comment will be limited to a total of 10 minutes.

Here is our previous coverage:

Press release:

It's official: King County Elections has now certified that the SeaTac Jobs Initiative has met the required signature threshold, and after a public hearing by the SeaTac City Council next month, the initiative will head to the November ballot.

The initiative would set workforce standards for more than 6,000 low wage transportation and hospitality workers in SeaTac, including paid sick leave, a wage of $15/hour, and opportunities for full-time employment.


SeaTac Committee for Good Jobs press release:

Today the SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative takes a major step forward as supporters will file more than 2,500 signatures and call on the city to place the initiative on the November 2013 ballot. Only 1,541 valid signatures are required to qualify the measure in the city.

It took airport workers and their community supporters less than 4 weeks of door-to-door canvassing to collect the signatures. The signature total represents nearly half of all SeaTac residents who voted in the 2011 general election.

Workers and their supporters will deliver their signatures to the SeaTac City Clerk’s office with the help of a marching band, balloons and celebratory signs.

“Today we celebrate in SeaTac. Filing the initiative shows how the community is coming together in its care and concern for one another. When working families can be paid properly and thrive, our whole community benefits,” said Rev. Jan Bolerjack, pastor of Riverton Park United Methodist Church.

Local light manufacturing company looks ahead to positive future of the community

Press release:

Plum Plex Productions LLC, a local light manufacturer, recently established their business and operations in the city of SeaTac and have announced plans for future growth.
Currently located on South 192nd Street, Plum Plex designs and produces both custom and stock retail displays office, furniture, museum cases and medical clinic products for some of the region’s most respected brands and companies.

“The location of Plum Plex in SeaTac is very favorable for growth in our light manufacturing sector and economy,” said Jeff Robinson, economic development manager for the city. “Their products are a staple of businesses throughout the region, and across the country. We were delighted with their decision to headquarter their business here, and we look forward to what’s to come.”

The company, which was established in SeaTac last September, employs a workforce of six industry experts mostly from the surrounding Highline area. Not only do they design and fabricate all of their work, but do so using green manufacturing techniques. The materials they work with primarily consist of acrylics, wood and metals.


By Shakira Ericksen

With an air of finality the 2013 Des Moines City budget was passed unanimously by the City Council at their Dec. 6 meeting.

The general fund, including street and police funds, is $33.9 million. Total funds are $55.7 million.

“It is what it is,” said Councilmember Melissa Musser. “It’s been very eye-opening this fiscal season.”

“I think this is the best we’re going to get,” said Mayor Pro Tem Matt Pina. “It’s no fun cutting your own organization.”

“We’re missing a lot of things in the budget,” said Councilmember Jeanette Burrage.

A considerable amount of money intending for replacement of equipment and computers has been deferred, she said

Mayor Dave Kaplan voiced concerns over how much of the city budget was funded by one-time money.

One-time money comes from reserves and other sources not expected to be available year after year.

“I was leaning in favor of going against the budget, but I’ll support it,” Mayor Kaplan said. “At some point in time we’re going to have to make some tough decisions. We’ve managed to muddle through; you can only do that for so long.”


Port of Seattle press release:

The Port of Seattle Commission approved Wednesday, Dec. 5 an aggressive 25-year program that positions the port as a leader to help create 100,000 new jobs in the region while reducing the port’s environmental footprint.

“We established bold, achievable goals for the port and regional stakeholders in our Century Agenda,” said John Creighton, Port of Seattle commissioner. “It builds on the 100 plus year role the port has played in creating economic growth for the Puget Sound region and the state of Washington. The Commission thanks the hundreds of citizens who worked with us to a set a path forward for the next 25 years.”

“As commissioners, we’re getting to work, contributing resources and joining teams to pursue these new initiatives,” said Tom Albro, Port of Seattle commissioner. “We look forward to working with stakeholders throughout the region to accomplish the goals of the Century Agenda.”


Highline Public Schools press release:

Highline Public Schools has refinanced a portion of the district’s outstanding capital bonds, taking advantage of a 40-year low in interest rates.

By reducing the interest rate from 5.23 percent to 2.43 percent, this transaction will save taxpayers over $6.6 million over the next thirteen years.

Combined with two other refinancing transactions over the past year, the district has reduced interest costs by nearly $12 million.

“We are grateful for the generous support of our Highline voters who approved capital bonds that ensure our students and staff have safe schools in which to work and learn,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “Refinancing at this time allowed us to demonstrate that Highline Public Schools is a responsible steward of the funds that our voters entrust to us.”

Taxpayers benefit directly from these savings. Refinancing bonds is similar to refinancing a home mortgage. Locking in a lower interest rate reduces the overall cost of paying back the bonds, and the savings stays in the pockets of property owners.


The controversial topic of public employees compensation was the focus of the Sept. 11 SeaTac City Council meeting as lawmakers voted on a 4-3 vote to approve new contracts for city workers.

Employees will receive a 2.6 percent raise, which is 95 percent of the regional Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), plus qualify for longevity bonuses. In turn, the employees will pay 1 percent more on their medical insurance premiums.

The contract covers 2012 through 2014.

The previous contract with the city’s labor union expired in December. SeaTac reached a tentative agreement on Aug. 14, which union members have ratified.

Non-union employees will receive a similar deal.

Councilmember Rick Forschler said the city faces an unusual situation where the cost of living is going up but the economy remains down. He said it is unfair to others whose wages are not increasing or who are out of work.

He also noted lawmakers had anticipated a 2 percent employee pay increase when approving the 2012 budget. The almost 3 percent increase meant lawmakers also needed to amend the budget to account for the increases.

Syndicate content