An airline group, representing six major airlines and parcel services, filed a lawsuit aiming to block the Port of Seattle from implementing a pay increase that would make Seattle-Tacoma airport workers some of the highest paid in the country.
So at first this seems like something which would not be unexpected move by these companies. A dick move to be sure, but not unexpected. But then you get to the next paragraph and find out how much these “highest paid” workers would actually be getting:
Reuters reports that Airlines for America filed the suit to prevent the Port commission, which runs Seattle-Tacoma airport, from increasing airport workers’ pay to $11.22 per hour in January and to $13 per hour in 2017.
For a full time, 40 hour a week job, an hourly wage of $11.22 is equivalent to $21 500a year before ANY deductions.
For a full time, 40 hour a week job, an hourly wage of $13 is equivalent to $24 960 a year before any deductions.
Now, while the $13/hr number might seem borderline workable, it’s important to point out the workers would not get this rate for another THREE years. Once inflation is factored in, $13/hr in 2017 is NOT a high wage.
Heck, I make more than that NOW and my job is not exactly glorious. I keep my bills paid but I still struggle sometime. I can hardly imagine what these people go through.
And of course the airlines are screaming bloody murder, that if god forbid they are forced to pay their employees a couple of dollars more the sky will start falling:
The suit, which was filed in district court in Seattle, argues the wage hikes conflict with state and federal law and labor agreements.
“The rules, unless restrained, will cause irreparable harm to Airlines for America’s member air carriers,” the complaint states.
The industry group includes American Airlines Group, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines Inc. along with delivery services United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp. The suit was joined by Baggage Airline Guest Services, an airport contractor that provides luggage handling and wheelchair escorts to travelers.
The Port commission maintains that it acted within its authority when they passed the pay increase measure back in July, in part to reduce employee turnover rates.
In corporate speak “irreparable harm” means: “It would cost us money and we don’t want to do it.”
What’s even worse about this situation, is that these employees should ALREADY be making higher wages than these companies are suing to stop, but a (likely business “owned”) court put a stop to that for some reason:
In fact, voters in SeaTac, where the Seattle-Tacoma airport is located, approved an initiative last year that increased the minimum wage for many workers to $15 per hour. However, airport employees were later excluded from the increase by a court order.
You’ve got to love how a story like this twists conservatives in pretzels. They’re all about state and local rights but here we have a case when the locals voted FOR THE INCREASE and a court stepped in and blocked it. Of course, since the Republicans love them some corporations I’m sure they’ll find some what to richsplain this one away.
Is this what our nation has come to? Bitter and drawn out legal battles over something as reasonable and rational as an ultimately moderate wage increase?
A pretty poor showing for the self proclaimed Greatest County in The World.