SeaTac Minimum Wage Vote Goes Court (and I’m the Plaintiff… seriously)

Citizens in the city of Seatac, WA, where I live, have tried to bring a $15/hr. minimum wage for airport and hospitality workers to a vote. But opponents have shut it down and I’ve filed a lawsuit against the city, so here we are.

This is not a satirical story, this is 100% fact. I am the plaintiff named in the suit against the City of Seatac for kicking out my petition signature for lacking a date, even when undated signatures have a precedent of being accepted in the past.

Proof of my involvement here and here.

The bizarre ruling to kick out the petition comes from activist judge and person I know in real life, Andrea Darvas. My experience says she has no problem stealing votes from citizens, but it’s anecdotal.

I was targeted in a push poll by the opponents of Seatac Proposition-1, which I’ll detail in another article. There’s big money dedicated to keeping wages below the poverty line, and they mean (big) business.

Here are the actual points from the Fact Sheet at “Common Sense Seatac, and my responses to them.

I welcome your love, hate and questions in the comments below.

It’s unfair (their actual heading)

•This initiative takes taxpayer money away from things like public safety, parks and street improvements so the City can pay to monitor and enforce the law[.]

Well that’s clearly untrue and patently ridiculous. No city officials will be driving around auditing businesses. If there’s a violation, there will be a complaint. Business owners know that and be incredibly foolish to attempt to pay less than minumum wage. This hasn’t happened to a company with more than 50 employees any time I can find in the past 30 years.

•Only “large” employers of just the transportation and hospitality industries are affected but “small” businesses in SeaTac will have to keep up with wage increases.

What? Why? That doesn’t even make sense. In a later bullet point they say there won’t be enough jobs, now they’re saying all of them will have to pay premium wages. If employers choose to pay higher wages to attract higher quality employees, good for them, it’s a smart investment. If they don’t, they’ll still have plenty of employees to fill those spots.

•Only one in ten SeaTac residents would benefit, while higher paying local jobs would be lost to outsiders.

That may be, but we don’t strictly care about “us”, we care about “people”. If this means Seatac gets the highest quality employees to show off to the world when they come to visit, so be it. I don’t support this because it benefits me, I support it because it benefits everybody.

•The initiative would permanently lock in this drastic disparity. The ordinance requires the City every year to adjust the base wage to reflect inflation.

When you use loaded language like “permanently lock in this drastic disparity” you lose all credibility. Which disparity is that, the one where some people make something closer to a living wage while this law doesn’t go far enough to pull everyone out of poverty? It’s a very strange argument, and one that is meaningless in the bigger picture.

It’s exorbitant (their actual heading)

•If passed, SeaTac would have highest minimum wage in U.S. – 63% higher than Washington State’s minimum wage of $9.19, which is already the second highest state in the nation.
•In fact, it would be $4.45 per hour higher than the City of San Francisco’s minimum wage, currently the highest in U.S. at $10.55.

Those are numbers, but they don’t mean anything. That doesn’t automatically make it bad. Surely you aren’t arguing to raise the federal minimum wage but to the buying power it had when America was #1 in science, education, technology and basically everything else. Those are also jurisdiction-wide minimum wages. This only applies to specific airport-related businesses, and other cities (especially on the west coast) already have similar higher standards.

•Small businesses in SeaTac, including diners, cafes and retail stores would suffer if they have to compete with new higher wages.

No they wouldn’t. Why would they? The fact that other people on the same block earn more has never deterred an employee who has an option in the matter.

It’s overreaching (their actual heading)

•The initiative grants unions special legal status. Only unions can waive or alter the provisions, while non-union employees are prohibited from agreeing to any changes.

Is that “special legal status” that they can include the value of the benefits packages they offer? If I’m getting $1/hour in medical coverage, while working at the place next door won’t offer it, I should have the liberty to accept that offer.

•Minimum wage jobs are important to help younger workers learn skills and get experience. If every job pays $15/hr., this first step for young workers goes away[.]

What the hell kind of double-speak is this nonsense? You just said that there would no longer be lower paying jobs, even though I said there would. Clearly there will still be workers willing to get their foot in the door for lower wages, and you just argued that point yourself. You can’t have it all three ways. You’re saying it 1) Drives up all wages, 2) takes away all jobs, even from people willing to work for less, and 3) that too many great jobs will be created. You’re not even consistent on a single page!

It’s bad for the City of SeaTac: (their actual heading)

•Hurts the City of SeaTac financially:

Not it doesn’t. Not in taxes, not in job losses. Not in any way. Show me a scrap of actual proof and I’ll entertain your fantasy, but this is just the talking point of those hired and empowered by big business.

•It is likely this will drive businesses out of SeaTac and business tax revenues will go down

No it won’t, that’s ridiculous. You think the airport won’t have rental car companies? You think the only (and by far the cheapest) convention centers within 20-miles are going to just shut their doors, rather than charge an extra 2-3% for what they offer? Get real.

•The City is required to audit, monitor, and ensure compliance, costs that haven’t been budgeted[.]

Says who? Citation needed. This is an outright lie. Not “required” but “permitted”. The difference isn’t just monumental, it’s critical.

•City authorized to investigate claims of violation and take action to remedy violations. Essentially this means offering free legal services to 6,000 private workers.

“Authorized” but not “required”… you really think the bosses of all 6,000 of those affected are going to break the law? Well now I know why you’re fighting so hard against this, the people paying your bills sound like serious asshats. And it says LITERALLY NOWHERE that it has to provide legal counsel. That’s a butt fact, in that, clearly you just pulled it out of your ass.

More on this story as it develops.

If you reach to wish me regarding this matter, please use the contact page and be as detailed as possible so I can get back in touch with you. For general thoughts, please use the Comments box below.

Author: Brian K. White

Brian first began peddling his humorous wares with a series of Xerox printed books in fifth grade. Since then he's published over two thousand satire and humor articles, as well as eight stage plays, a 13-episode cable sitcom and three (terrible) screenplays. He is a freelance writer by trade and an expert in the field of viral entertainment marketing. He is the author of many of the biggest hoaxes of recent years, a shameful accomplishment in which he takes exceptional pride.

4 thoughts on “SeaTac Minimum Wage Vote Goes Court (and I’m the Plaintiff… seriously)

  1. There has been quite a lot of discussion today about Labor Day. I don’t remember another Labor Day where there has been so much contention among Americans as to what it means to be a working American and how most Americans aren’t making a decent living wage. Here’s what I think…if things were going well in America, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Everyone would be happy to have the day off and celebrating their good fortune with family and friends. It used to be that way in America and I assume that is the reason we put aside a day to celebrate workers across America.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t much to celebrate for many Americans on this special day. A disproportionate amount of Americans don’t make enough money to afford a day off. In addition, a disproportionate amount of Americans don’t even have jobs to celebrate taking a day off from.

    It used to be in America that when faced with social problems, we all pulled together and solved them. It is not so in today’s world. Why are we angry at the folks at the top? One good answer is that there are few bosses today who are willing to share their wealth with the very people who keep them going. They are happy to pay a low wage in order to boast bigger profits to their shareholders. I worked in the legal field for 35 years. I busted my ass for the law firms and companies I worked for. Many times I did the same work as my bosses, the lawyers, yet got a fraction of the pay for my efforts. Yet, when I state this fact, I am called a whiner by some of my fellow Americans. I put my time in and I’m proud of the career I built over the years.

    So, when the working poor complain that they don’t earn enough to support their families, don’t you think they have at least earned the right to ask for a living wage? Don’t you think it is time to get out that balance sheet and actually work on balancing out the fruits of everyone’s labor?

  2. This job salary deflation has been churning for a long time, predating Obama. Minimum wage is only a small portion of total overall salary decreasing in all ranks. This started in the 80’s when they decided that experienced workers with higher salaries could be replaced with younger, lower earning workers with less experience. Soon, everyone in those professional ranks found their salaries plummeting to “entry level” levels. Obama didn’t create this two decade fiasco, but he ain’t helping either.

    At these depressed earnings levels experienced professionals have to work with, if the minimum wage DOES go up to $13/ hr., some nuclear reactor operator will only be making two dollars more an hour over minimum wage. With record level CEO earnings, either a shared sacrifice or bounty is fair. But, neither one is on the agenda, so the slaves starve and the rich get to make their own burgers. Work on their own lawnmowers. And fix their own power lines. At this rate, next year an engineer can always work a few extra hours at McDonald’s to make what their making now. And that’s the sad part.

  3. Good luck on getting what you feel is right, but in the long run it really doesn't help. Everything ends up costing more..Lawncare, minimum wage services, fast food labor costs, and any other business that utilizes cheap labor.
    Minimum wage earners will see a jump in buying power, but that will evaporate once other service or suppliers raise prices to cover additional costs due to employer SS contributions, their upswing costs passed on their vendors/suppliers.

    Minuimum wage was/is really a wage for part-time high school kids. It was never designed or intended as a wage for a family earner. The problem is this Obama Recession that is strangling the whole economy.. cutting opportunities and stifling a 40 hour work week.

    Good luck. Hope it goes great for you.

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