Seattle Workers to Get Up to $10,000 Each in Back Wages

Photo by Zerbor / Shutterstock.com

Several companies that provide hospitality or transportation services for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are learning that they need to follow the rules — in this case, a Seattle minimum wage law — or face the legal consequences.

The companies are being forced to fork over millions of dollars to settle back-pay lawsuits.

According to the Associated Press, the companies, which include airport staffing firms, hotels, rental car agencies and parking lots in SeaTac, chose to disregard Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law, which passed in 2014, and continued to pay their workers below that wage. Now they’re being ordered to hand over $12 million to settle back pay lawsuits.

The AP says:

“Many employers questioned the law’s validity and declined to immediately follow it. The state Supreme Court upheld the measure a year ago in a 5-4 ruling, and attorneys for the workers began filing lawsuits seeking back pay for the roughly two years that the companies failed to pay $15 an hour.”

The AP says Menzies Aviation, which provides ramp workers and baggage handlers for Alaska Airlines at SeaTac, has agreed to an $8.2 million settlement — the largest so far — which will provide compensation for 738 former and current workers. Menzies was allegedly paying most of those workers $12 an hour instead of $15. The workers will get about $10,000 each after attorneys’ fees.

Nicole Vallestero Keenan, who worked on the SeaTac minimum wage campaign and now is the executive director of the Seattle-based Fair Works Center, a nonprofit that works on enforcing labor laws, tells the AP:

“Whenever you pass a labor law, you need it to be enforced for it to be real for the workers. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck and you receive $10,000 in back wages that are owed to you, that can be an enormous factor in changing one’s life.”

Some of the companies involved in the back-pay lawsuits claimed that SeaTac’s ordinance should be overthrown because its conflicts with federal law, the AP reports. That’s an argument rejected by the Washington State Supreme Court.

What do you think of a $15 minimum wage? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Have You Heard of This Best Place to Retire in 2020?
Have You Heard of This Best Place to Retire in 2020?

The best place to retire in America is one you likely are not familiar with.

17 Home Upgrades That Rarely Help Close a Sale
17 Home Upgrades That Rarely Help Close a Sale

Real estate agents give these renovations low marks when it comes to helping sell homes.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020
How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020

New year, new you. Get your finances on track with the help of these tools for investing, saving, budgeting and earning.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

7 Ways Coupons Waste Your Money and Time
7 Ways Coupons Waste Your Money and Time

Here’s why I hung up my scissors and quit clipping coupons.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

This Is America’s New Favorite Grocery Store
This Is America’s New Favorite Grocery Store

Consumers say a familiar name has become their go-to source of grocery items.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire
The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire

I’m a millionaire several times over. I got here the same way you can — by following these simple steps.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.