In denying the request to exempt airport workers from the SeaTac minimum-wage law, the judge said the matter had been settled by the state Supreme Court, which found enforcing the law would not interfere with airport operations.
A King County Superior Court judge has denied the latest attempt to stop the city of SeaTac’s $15 minimum-wage law from applying to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
In mid-December, Alaska Airlines and three other plaintiffs asked the court to hear evidence on whether the city’s minimum-wage law interferes with airport operations. This was after the state Supreme Court had ruled Aug. 20 that the SeaTac minimum-wage law could be enforced at the airport because there’s “been no showing that this law would interfere with airport operations.”
On Wednesday, Judge Andrea Darvas denied the latest request, saying the matter had already been decided when the state Supreme Court upheld the law and then denied the same plaintiffs’ motion to reconsider in November.
The request argued that Alaska Airlines, BF Foods, Filo Foods and the Washington Restaurant Association should be allowed to conduct discovery and proceed to trial in an attempt to prove that Proposition 1 violated state law. But Darvas wrote that was “precisely what the Supreme Court rejected when it denied plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration and clarification.” She said the higher court’s ruling was “unequivocal.”
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The fight over increasing the minimum wage has been going on since 2013, when SeaTac voters passed Proposition 1. The vote raised the minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers in the city of SeaTac to $15 an hour.
While the legality of the law made its way through to the Supreme Court, so too did questions over the way in which Proposition 1 made it onto the ballot.
The issue involves whether 61 signatures of registered SeaTac voters who signed more than one petition seeking to qualify the ballot measure should or should not have been counted. That issue is still making its way to the state Supreme Court.
Alaska Air and the same three other groups filed a lawsuit challenging the signatures back in 2013 and the same judge, Darvas, rejected the 61 signatures. Where the petitions had duplicate signatures, she ordered that both the original and the duplicate be eliminated — leaving 1,518 — 18 fewer than the 1,536 required to get to the ballot.
Her decision, however, was overturned by a three-judge panel of the Washington Court of Appeals, and the four groups filed a motion asking the Supreme Court for an emergency review.
Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said the company has yet to decide on the next step because the legality of Proposition 1 will not be final until the Supreme Court resolves the issue with these signatures.
“There is still an outstanding issue before the state Supreme Court regarding the validity of the signatures collected to put Proposition 1 on the November 2013 ballot,” Egan said in an email statement. “This is not a new argument and the (Supreme Court) will decide whether to review this issue on its Feb. 9 review calendar.”