HomeBreaking NewsBREAKING: Seattle Suburb Raises Minimum Wage To $15–Highest in the US

BREAKING: Seattle Suburb Raises Minimum Wage To $15–Highest in the US

One of the hottest political topics of the year is the growing income gap, and how American workers are falling further behind in earning a living wage.  Perhaps the most contentious income issue is raising the minimum wage, which by any standard, is not providing workers with the income they need without outside assistance.  Federal programs such as SNAP and TANF help subsidize millions of underpaid working people all across the United States.

Meanwhile, CEO’s and others at the top of the business chain are exponentially earning more and more while their workers’ pay continues to erode.  In lieu of fair wages, our tax dollars provide a much-needed safety net.  However, this ongoing trend has reached intolerable proportions in many American communities, and one Seattle suburb is showing us a way out.

Sea-Tac, Washington is the home of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which employs over 6,000 workers.  Most of them are baggage handlers, jet fuelers, building maintenance workers, and cabin cleaners.  They often rely on food stamps to feed their families, which frees up what little they earn for bills and rent.  Sea-Tac shares the same income inequality problems as most anywhere else.  31% of their children live in poverty.  The cost of living in the region is high, making expenses hard even in the poorest neighborhoods.  So Sea-Tac decided enough was enough, and put an airport workers minimum wage initiative on the ballot, which citizens voted to approve last night.

Proposition 1 gives Sea-Tac employees a $15.00 minimum wage, allows them to keep their tips, and provides for paid sick days.  These are benefits many higher-wage workers take for granted, but they are exceedingly rare for lower-income employees.  This is the kind of trickle-up stimulus the local economy needs. More money earned means more to spend, more to save and less reliance on subsidy programs.

The ripple effect doesn’t stop there.  A study estimated that $54 million in economic activity will stimulate new jobs and growth, increasing the Sea-Tac region’s full-time workforce.  In the shadow of troubled times, this is the kind of light that hard-working Americans need, increasing not only their income, but their opportunities.  If the middle class is to be re-built, it needs to start at the bottom, with a living minimum wage.   The people of Sea-Tac bringing living wages to the ballot box assures us that democracy can indeed serve the best interests of the people who maintain it.


h/t: NPR

About Laurin Suiter

Laurin Suiter
Laurin brings a background in teaching civics and history to his perspectives on current events. When not trying to keep up with books and music, he spends his free time in pursuit of making the perfect paella. He lives in the stuccoed suburbs of Los Angeles with his brilliant and beautiful wife.
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  • Sande Sanders

    Don, yes they can and do; as in this case. Hell, who knew that SeaTac was an incorporated city. I’ve driven there dozens of times to the airport, stopped and had breakfast or to get a cup of coffee for the drive home after picking up/dropping off someone at the airport. Good for them! Probably the only people who live there are people who work in the minimum wages jobs and can’t afford to live further away from the airport and their jobs.

  • Dave

    Ya know, when this succeeds and becomes the standard in states like Washington I sure as hell hope I get a break. I went to school AFTER being an engineer in the Navy for 20 years and have to pay to renew a license every year and STILL don’t make $13.00 an hour. Indiana………….what a place to be.

  • Mike Benardo

    AMEN! President Roosevelt came up with a minimum wage so that anybody with a full-time job can afford to live, not just so they can say they have a job. Down with “trickle-down” economics.

  • Sean

    Misleading title.

    The city of SeaTac didn’t raise it’s minimum wage. It was only for airport workers there.

    Stop pulling GOP stunts with your stories, please. It makes us lose credibility.

    • https://www.facebook.com/gajate1 Eldwin Gajate

      ORIGINAL POST: SeaTac voters today will decide whether to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for hospitality and transportation workers in and around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. That rate represents a 63 percent increase from Washington’s hourly minimum rate of $9.19, which will rise on Jan. 1 to $9.32, the highest of any state.

      Proposition 1 also calls for annual increases tied to inflation, paid sick leave and tip protection. It would require employers to offer part-time workers more hours before hiring additional part-timers and to keep employees for at least three months after an ownership change.

      The ballot measure would take effect Jan. 1, covering roughly 6,300 workers at 72 airport-related businesses in SeaTac, including hotels, car-rental companies and parking lots.

  • https://www.facebook.com/brian.olson.125323 Brian Olson

    Outstanding! The minimum wage in Australia is about $15 per hour and a Big Mac only costs a few pennies more than here.

  • shayk

    Awesome. Makes me want to start a ballot initiative in my state. We don’t hv a living wage in this country. Yet, although proven wrong many times, it is argued that this would adversely affect businesses. As you pointed out if we had a living wage families would have more to spend possibly lifting them up. As well as they would no longer need govt help, pay more into social security, and pay more taxes. All the impact is for the better of the country. The Walton family that owns Walmart, as an example, has more wealth than the bottom 40% of America. But their employees are largely not surviving with out government help. I strongly believe that closing tax loopholes, falsely accused of being tax increases, would be the quickest way to reduce federal debt. Trying to do it by cutting benefits to the poor will 1st severely hurt American families, the businesses they shop at, reduce government revenue and on and on. We need to ban together and tell our elected we want corporate tax loop holes closed. That if were serious about reducing the debt, all possible routes must be on the table and that closing tax loop holes IS NOT raising taxes. We will never balance Americas budget on the backs of the poor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.mcmahan.3 Don McMahan

    is it enforceable? can a local authority set a minimum wage that is different from the state or federal minimum wage. just asking, I honestly don’t know but I hope it works.

    • Penny

      It works in San Fransisco The minimum wage in that city is higher than in the rest of California…In spite of all of the screaming it is working….

  • http://gravatar.com/clouddancemountain cloudave

    Excellent! If someone works full time they should earn a living wage. Period. No exceptions! The $8.25 raise NJ just voted for is a joke. No one can make it on that wage. Every low wage job includes Federal Benefits like SNAP. It should not be the Federal Governments responsibity to provide job subsidies. Big Business is ripping off the US tax payers.

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