UPDATE: $15-An-Hour Minimum Wage–Still Hanging Tough!

In General Interest by Jonathan Tasini1 Comment

The votes keep trickling in. But, as of close of business today in Seattle, the initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15-an-hour in SeaTac is hanging on. And it looks better today.

As of now:

Supporters and opponents of SeaTac’s $15-an-hour minimum-wage measure remain locked in a dead heat Tuesday, with only 43 votes separating them.Proposition 1 kept its lead with 50.4 percent of 5,323 ballots counted as of Tuesday.

“We know votes are just going to keep trickling in like this, and we have to be patient,” said Heather Weiner, spokeswoman for pro-Proposition 1 organization Yes! for SeaTac.

Tuesday’s results represented something of a victory for Proposition 1: After celebrating an election-night lead of 261 votes, supporters saw that margin of victory all but disappear to 43 votes by Friday night, as opponents closed the gap with each new round of numbers.

Only 278 additional votes were counted Tuesday, and 139 fell to each side. An estimated 400 to 500 ballots still must be counted. That means that to close the gap, the No campaign needs about 55 percent of the remaining votes.[emphasis added]

Last week, I mistakenly thought the vote was over–sorry!!!–because of the way Kings County published its original results with “100 percent” of the vote cast…my colleagues at SEIU, who were central to the pro-campaign, explained, yes, it’s a goofy but the all-mail ballot carries on a bit longer. Anyway…

While it’s not out of the woods yet, the count is more encouraging.

Even with a win, the fight is not done:

Airport food concessionaire Filo Foods, along with Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association, filed an amended lawsuit Friday in King County Superior Court seeking to invalidate the ballot measure.In addition to suing the city of SeaTac, Proposition 1 opponents now are bringing legal action against the Port of Seattle, which owns and operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The amended suit by opponents claims Proposition 1 is unenforceable because it exceeds the small city’s initiative power and legislative authority, noting that the airport falls under the Port of Seattle’s control.

The suit argues that Proposition 1 purports to regulate parts of the employer-employee relationship and conflicts with federal law, including the Railway Labor Act, which covers Alaska Airlines and other major air carriers.

Because, you know, profit only comes from slave labor.

The most important piece of what I think was the most progressive potential win of last week’s election — because it actually puts in place lifting people out of poverty a bit without needing to rely on the good will of a politician — is the message it sends:

$10.10-an-hour — the current proposal by House and Senate Democrats — is puny because that still leaves a family of four BELOW the poverty line.

Be serious and get much faster towards at least a $20-an-hour minimum wage, which is what it should be given productivity in the past 30 years.

Keep fingers crossed. Updates as they come.


  1. Pingback: $15-An-Hour Minimum Wage: Thisclose, 19-Vote Lead (UPDATE #2) | Working Life

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