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Alaska Airlines and Restaurant Association Sue to Block SeaTac Initiative Establishing Nation’s Highest Minimum Wage

July 18, 2013 J,

In yet another indication that a local ballot initiative in this small King County city carries statewide and even national significance, Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association have filed suit to block a measure imposing America’s highest minimum wage on Sea-Tac International Airport and nearby airport-related businesses.

So it seems this small city of 27,000 has become the most important battleground this year in a national fight by labor interests for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, paid sick leave and other rules. Odds are such proposals would never stand a chance in a typical state legislature, but by fighting city by city, in selected locations where local sympathies tip the scales, labor has scored big victories. They have come in places like Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Long Beach. The SeaTac initiative is the most sweeping proposal yet, and it is a big worry for business, says Bruce Beckett of the state restaurant group. “We seem to be heading toward a patchwork here that doesn’t bode well for people who are thinking of bringing businesses into this state,” he said. “And it is just an unworkable piece of policy.”

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