The agreement comes in class-action suits involving about 1,000 current and former workers.
Two airport services companies at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have agreed to a settlement totaling some $10 million to resolve claims of hundreds of workers who say they were paid less than $15 an hour after SeaTac’s minimum wage law went into effect.
Menzies Aviation, which provides baggage handling, cabin cleaning and other services for airlines, has agreed to allocate nearly $8.2 million to resolve the claims of 738 current and former employees in a class-action case
In another class-action suit, Prospect International Airport Services, which provides services including wheelchair assistance and baggage handling, will set aside $1.98 million for 291 current and former employees.
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“I’m pleased for the workers,” said Duncan Turner, lead attorney on the cases. “This is a hardworking population for whom the settlement dollars mean quite a bit.”
The lawsuits stemmed from an ordinance SeaTac voters approved that required employers of transportation and hospitality workers to pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2014. The ordinance did not include airlines.
Alaska Airlines and other plaintiffs had filed a lawsuit saying the ordinance shouldn’t apply at the airport — an argument that the courts rejected. Airport services companies including Menzies may have been waiting for resolution of those lawsuits, to see if the law applied to Sea-Tac airport, before paying the higher minimum wage.
Menzies declined to comment on the settlement. Prospect did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.
Under the settlement, those who worked at Menzies or Prospect between Jan. 1, 2014, and Feb. 14, 2016, and made less than $15 an hour in 2014 and less than $15.24 in 2015 and 2016 are eligible to be part of the settlement class. (Menzies employees can check to confirm if they’re part of the class action at www.seatacminimumwagelawsuit.com/pending-lawsuits/. Similar information for Prospect employees is expected to be available next week.)
There will be a notification period to reach those eligible, and then the court needs to give final approval — something Turner expects to happen no later than Jan. 5.
The settlements this week are the first among two dozen active lawsuits Turner has filed over the minimum wage law at SeaTac. He expects to file three more.
Similar lawsuits have been filed against other employers based at or near Sea-Tac Airport.