Sorry, Alaska Airlines. The state Supreme Court says it's time to face the music: You're going to have to pay airport workers $15 an hour.
In 2013, Alaska Airlines, BF Foods, Filo Foods, and the Washington Restaurant Association sued the city of SeaTac, arguing that Prop 1—the city's minimum wage law—shouldn't have originally qualified for the ballot. They finally lost the case in an appeals court, but then filed a motion with the state Supreme Court for an emergency review. In December, shortly after losing another battle against the minimum wage law, Alaska Airline's lawyers pointed out that this motion for emergency review remained unresolved.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied the motion.
"After a long-delayed arrival, it’s time for $15 to finally arrive for several thousand poverty-wage workers at SeaTac, and for Alaska to ensure its contractors follow Prop 1 and every other law that applies at the airport," Sage Wilson, spokesperson for Working Washington, said. "Because non-credible as it is, this was the only excuse they had left."
Tuesday's decision followed a torrent of litigation against the minimum wage law that was resolved last year. Back in August, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the city of SeaTac's Prop 1 was legal and applied to hospitality and airport workers. Not long after, the groups that originally fought the law (including Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association) filed an additional motion asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its opinion.
Airport workers celebrated when the court denied that motion in December.
Tuesday's decision does seem to be the last word (finally!) on the matter from the highest court in the state. But will the plaintiffs attempt to take this shit federal? We've reached out to Alaska Airlines, but have yet to hear back.
UPDATE: "We are aware of the significance of today’s ruling and we are working with our vendors to appropriately address the payment of $15.24 / hour total cash wages," Bobbie Egan, a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines, said in an e-mailed statement. "Any further steps are still being considered."