Sound Progress

Research and insights from Puget Sound Sage.

Who is Covered by SeaTac’s Proposition 1 (and Who is Not)?

Now that the legal dust has settled the Good Jobs Initiative which goes to the ballot in November, the public debate can shift to more important matters like what would this living wage initiative actually do?

That’s why Sage has crunched the numbers to determine which employers in SeaTac would be impacted by Proposition 1 and how many workers would receive increased wages, paid sick days and other provisions.  Based on a close reading of the initiative language and careful analysis of available data, here is what we found.

If adopted, we estimate that nearly 6,300 jobs at 72 businesses will fall under new employment standards.  This represents about 25% of all jobs in the city of SeaTac.

The table below shows the breakdown of affected jobs by sector.  Approximately 20 airline contractors comprise the most affected employer group, with 43% of all covered jobs.  These include multi-national firms such as Menzies Aviation, Swissport, and DGS.

Employers Affected by Prop 1

For more information about sources and methodology for this analysis, contact Nicole Vallestero Keenan, Policy Analyst at nicole(at)

Food and retail concessionaires contribute another 22% to the total number of covered jobs. This includes the two airport concession giants, HMS Host and Hudson News Group, but also airport restaurants such McDonalds, Wendy’s and Anthony’s.

About 14 hotels and motels with over 100 rooms will be covered by the new employment standards, contributing about 19% of covered jobs. The three largest hotels in SeaTac are the (Hilton) DoubleTree, the Marriot and the Hilton. Restaurants directly operated by large hotels are also covered.

An estimated 14 ground transportation employers comprise the remaining 16% of affected jobs. This group of employers include Hertz, Avis, Shuttle Express and Masterpark.

So, which businesses are not covered?

By narrowly targeting air-travel related business – specifically, hospitality and transportation – Proposition 1 leaves locally-serving businesses out. For example, stand-alone restaurants in the city, such as Pancake Chef, Dave’s Diner and Galliano’s will not be affected. Also, grocery stores, bars, coffee shops, convenience stores, gas stations, and other retailers outside the airport will not be covered.

Our analysis of existing businesses in the various SeaTac industries shows that no non-profit or community service organizations will be affected either. Finally, Proposition 1’s definition of covered employers explicitly excludes government agencies and airline employees like flight attendants and pilots.

Small businesses inside the airport with 9 or fewer non- supervisory, or non-managerial employees are not covered. According to Port of Seattle badge data, there are a number of storefronts that fall below this employee threshold. Some of these businesses include: Roger’s Shoe Shine, Bose and Rosetta Stone. Many of the restaurants and shops inside SeaTac Airport that may appear to be small standalone storefronts are, in fact, operated by larger companies like HMS Host and Husdon who have hundreds of employees in the airport.

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