SeaTac workers at 14 companies have filed lawsuits seeking class-action status that allege their employers have been paying them less than the $15 per hour called for under the minimum-wage ordinance approved by the city’s voters in 2013.

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SeaTac workers at 14 companies have filed lawsuits seeking class-action status that allege their employers have been paying them less than the $15 per hour called for under the minimum-wage ordinance approved by the city’s voters in 2013.

The employers named in the 14 separate suits include car-rental firms Hertz and Fox, baggage-handling companies Menzies Aviation and Bags Inc., and global shipping company Hanjin. The other defendants are also rental-car, food-service and logistics firms.

Some workers reported being paid wages as low as $9.75 per hour, while most were paid close to $12 per hour, said one of their attorneys, Duncan Turner of Badgley Mullins Turner.

The lawsuits list more than 40 plaintiffs, but attorneys representing them said the lawsuits could ultimately cover about 1,500 workers who work at companies based at or near Sea-Tac International Airport.

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That number includes people who work at airport restaurants and rental-car agencies, and for firms that contract with airlines to handle baggage, clean airplanes and facilities and ferry passengers in wheelchairs through the airport.

“Our goal is to obtain a full accounting of the unpaid wages and benefits and to provide a full redress for these workers,” Turner said during a news conference Wednesday.

SeaTac voters approved an ordinance in 2013 that required employers of transportation and hospitality workers to pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2014. The ordinance does not include airlines.

The attorneys working on the case, who also include Cleveland Stockmeyer and Daniel Whitmore, estimate that some workers were shortchanged by up to a third of their earnings and are owed upward of $20,000 in unpaid wages during the two years the ordinance has been in effect.

The total back pay owed could total $14 million to $21 million, Stockmeyer said.

Many of the affected workers are immigrants, people with poor English skills, or employees afraid of retaliation, Turner said.

Khalif Mahamad, who works for GCA Services, a firm that provides services to rental-car agencies, said he wanted to speak up for many co-workers who are not receiving proper wages.

“We are just requesting to get our rights,” he said. “Without us, these companies could not make a penny.”

Lawsuits started not long after the ordinance went into effect in 2014, and recently two similar suits were filed against Shuttle Express and Enterprise Holdings, which operates Alamo and National Car Rental.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take for these employers to accept reality and accept that SeaTac Prop. 1 is the law of the land,” said Dmitri Iglitzin, the attorney representing the plaintiffs in those two lawsuits.

While the city of SeaTac and the state Department of Labor and Industries take complaints about wage theft, many workers are turning to class-action lawsuits for help, Iglitzin said.

Some employers operating at or near the airport were waiting for lawsuits challenging the ordinance to be resolved before increasing worker wages, said Matt Haney, a director at SEIU Local 6, a union that represents some SeaTac workers.

Alaska Airlines and three other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit claiming the ordinance shouldn’t apply to the airport. The State Supreme Court ruled against that argument last August and in December rejected a request to review the case.

Since the August ruling, some employers have started paying workers $15.24 per hour, the current minimum wage adjusted for inflation.

Turner said various airport employers expected the Alaska Airlines lawsuit to exempt them from paying higher wages.

Menzies said in an email Wednesday that it is complying with the law: “While we cannot comment on ongoing litigation, as of February 15, 2016, Menzies Aviation is paying its employees at SeaTac a base rate of $15.24 per hour.”

Meanwhile, aviation-services firm ASIG, which is also being sued, lists an opening on its website for an aircraft fueler at SeaTac that pays a base salary of $12 per hour.

ASIG, as well as several other companies named in the suits, did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.