Sound Progress

Research and insights from Puget Sound Sage.

Post Election Analysis: A Guide to Businesses Covered by SeaTac’s Proposition 1

Now that Proposition 1 has passed, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of who will see a wage boost and better standards.  In our previous post, we highlighted that only companies that meet a size and employee threshold are covered.  Over the past nine months, we have obtained data on employer sizes from the Port of Seattle, Hoovers, King County property data, the Puget Sound Book of Lists and union organizers to compile our estimates of who is covered.  Below you’ll find our projected list of workplaces where living wage requirements should kick in on January 1st, 2014.

Note that the list is meant to be a guide, not a definitive answer to whether a particular company is covered or not.  For example, we may over-estimated employment for firms on the edge of Proposition 1’s threshold, and included them when they are not actually covered. Or companies may have grown or shrunk since we made our estimate.  But, most of the employers listed below are well above the thresholds and we are confident that they are covered. (The lists below are ordered by largest to smallest.)

Rental Car Agencies (and their contractors)

There are approximately 16 rental car agencies (and companies contracted to provide those agencies services) operating in SeaTac.  Below are seven that we estimate have more than 100 vehicles and 25 or more workers in SeaTac.



Golden Gate of Orlando

GCA Services Group

Avis Budget Group

Enterprise Rent a Car



Hotels or motels with over 100 rooms and more than 30 non-managerial employees will be covered by Proposition 1.  Below are two lists – one for hotels that we project meet both criteria and one for hotels that meet the room requirement but may or may not meet the employee threshold.

The following hotels are primarily the big ones on International Blvd, near SeaTac Airport.  We know the number of rooms at each hotel from King County Assessor’s information.  From other analysis, we estimate that they all have 30 or more employees.



DoubleTree Hilton




Hilton Seattle Airport


Holiday Inn


Clarion Hotel




Red Lion


Cedar Brook Lodge


Hampton Inn


Holiday Inn Express




The hotels below meet the room number requirement, but may or may not meet the 30 worker threshold.  We cannot confirm that these are covered by Prop 1 and did not include them in our prior estimates of the number of firms covered or workers affected.



Sleep Inn


Fairfield Inn


Red Roof Inn


La Quita Inn


Coast Gateway


Best Western


Hampton Inn 2


Comfort Inn


Super 8


Motel 6


Quality Inn


On-Airport Transportation Employers

There are hundreds of businesses that do business at the airport:  however, only a relatively small number related to air travel passengers and cargo are specifically covered by the initiative.   The list below includes companies that provide services defined in Proposition 1 and which we estimate have 25 or more employees at Sea-Tac Airport.

Menzies Aviation Group

Federal Express Corp

Bags Inc


DAL Global Services

Swissport US

Flight Services & Systems


Prime Flight

Aircraft Service Intl

Worldwide Flt Svcs

Intergrated Airline SVCS

World Service Co


Swissport Cargo SVCS


Aviation Safeguards

Hanjin Global

Swissport Fueling Inc

Matheson Postal SVCS

Menzies Aviation Cargo

Note that we estimated the size of these on-airport companies based on Port of Seattle security badge data obtained in January 2013.

Institutional Food Service or Retail Employers

These employers provide food service in public facilities, corporate cafeterias and meeting facilities.    The list below includes companies operating at Sea-Tac Airport that we estimate have a minimum of ten or more non-managerial or non-supervisory employees.  Note that many individual stores at Sea-Tac Airport are actually operated by HMS Host and Hudson News Group, so will not show up on the list.  These two companies account for nearly two-thirds of all workers in this category.

HMS Host

Hudson News Group

Concourse Concessions LLC

Concessions Intl

Filo Foods LLC

Massage Bar Inc

Latrelles Express Inc

Qdoba Rest Company


Food Systems Unlimited

VIP Hospitality

Fireworks LLC

Butter London

SeaTac Bar Group

Ivars Inc

Pallino Pastaria

Sodexo Magin


Dilettantes Mocha Bar

Travelex Currency Services

Body Shop

Vino Volo

In a recent Seattle Times article, the co-owners of an airport Quiznos also projected that their company will hiring more workers and may be covered soon.

Parking Lots and Garages

Parking lots and garages with over 100 spaces and over 25 employees are covered by the initiative.  (This excludes parking lots at stores and smaller parking garages in the city of SeaTac.)  We estimate that three parking companies, operating six facilities, meet both the employee and the employer threshold.  Other parking lots in SeaTac have more than 100 spaces, but likely fewer than 25 employees.

Doug Fox Airport Parking


Wally Park

Ground Transportation/Shuttle Firms

Shuttle and bus service providers that own ten or more shuttles, vans and busses, and employ more than 25 non-managerial employees in SeaTac are covered by Proposition 1. Although many companies run shuttle services to the airport, from around the Puget Sound and from Eastern Washington, only one operates primarily in King County – Shuttle Express.  (Other companies may or may not be covered based on how their fleet and number of employees are counted.)

State Senate Transportation Package Weakens Transit Access and Environmental Protections

Seattle Times Photo

Seattle Times Photo

Washington State Senators will be holding a work session today on their latest transportation proposal.  The legislature was called back into a special legislative session by Governor Jay Inslee .  The proposal, from the GOP-led majority coalition, could be voted on by the legislature by the end of the week.

The Senate package will disproportionately impact people with lower incomes, immigrants, refugees and people of color.  It would do this in two ways: 1. It will result in cuts to transit services that people with lower incomes rely on, and 2. It will take funds away from toxic clean-up projects that affect the public health.

Despite raising revenue for transportation, the package would still lead to cuts to King County Metro that threaten transit access for low income communities. Service cuts are detrimental to those for whom public transit is their primary source of transportation to get to jobs, schools, day cares, and grocery stores. These residents are most likely to be people of color and low wage workers.


Duwamish River Clean-Up Coalition

The proposal will also weaken environmental laws necessary to address public health concerns in communities near toxic waste sites. The Senate proposal diverts $280 million away from a toxic waste clean-up fund to the direct benefit of oil and gas corporations.

The diversion of funds comes at the direct expense of waterways like the Duwamish River. Residents of the Duwamish Valley are predominately low wage workers and people of color. A recent study has already demonstrated that Duwamish Valley residents face disproportionate diesel exhaust pollution. Failing to clean up toxic sites will compound and prolong the environmental hazards which place the health of lower income households at risk.

The package is essentially a doubling down on a failed transportation system that doesn’t adequately provide for transportation alternatives. The $12 billion package will spend less than 2% on alternatives to cars. For more information about their proposal view the proposal’s bills and balance sheet.

The Senate work session will take place on Thursday at 1:30pm in Olympia, Senate Hearing Rm 4 in the J.A. Cherberg Building; Olympia, WA. They will be taking public comments between 1:30-5:30pm.

Election Analysis: How SeaTac’s Proposition 1 Succeeded Against Powerful, Corporate Opposition

SeaTac’s Proposition 1 established an early lead on election night, which is very likely to hold as the last ballots are counted. Although a recount is likely and a legal challenge from opponents is already in the works, the initiative has succeeded and will ultimately prevail because of a campaign that was able to demonstrate living wage jobs are not only good for workers, but good for the local/regional economy.

The initiative is poised to win having faced opposition from a campaign of politically powerful corporate interests. The opposition campaign was funded by Alaska Airlines, the National Restaurant Association, the American Car Rental Association and the Koch brothers-backed Freedom Foundation. These national corporate interests threw both their money and their weight into this local election.

Three things were core to the campaign to win the SeaTac Good Jobs Initiative:

Sound Research that Showed the Initiative Would Lead to Economic Growth. Economic impact analysis showed how worker spending will multiply under the initaitve, resulting in up to $54 million of increased income for the region and more than 400 new local jobs. It also showed how an increase in earnings and spending will mean more revenue for local governments to pay for improved infrastructure such as schools, parks and public safety.

The analysis authored by Howard Greenwich and Nicole Vallestero Keenan was front page news in the Seattle Times and shifted the debate over the economic impacts of the policy.

Support from Small Businesses. Despite a powerful corporate campaign that attempted to paint the initiative has harmful to small business (the policy included an exemption for small businesses) local businesses publicly backed the initiative. Don Liberty, owner of the Bull Pen Bar and Grill was a key spokesperson in favor of the initiative. Puget Sound Sage engaged local small business owners, including Don, to demonstrate why they supported workforce requirements and paid fair wages to their employees.

Support from Faith Communities. SeaTac is a small city where personal relationships matter, and support from a trusted friend, teacher, minister or neighbor, business owner will sway votes. Even before the initiative campaign began local ministers, imams and community groups convened by Sage organizers were coming together to support living wage jobs at SeaTac Airport.

Rev. Jan Bolerjack of Riverton Park United Methodist Church, became a critical voice for the campaign and a media star. Her story about how airport workers come to her church’s food bank wearing their airport uniforms became the moral story of Proposition 1 for SeaTac voters.

Mayoral Election Analysis: What a Murray Administration Will Mean for Building Communities that Thrive

“Economic opportunity should be the promise of Seattle. Good jobs, equity, fair wages, worker protections, affordable housing and a livable city for the diversity of people who should be able to call Seattle home – these are values I have fought for all my career.”

 – Candidate Ed Murray

The mayor’s race has ended and Mayor-Elect Murray is planning his transition to move into Hizzoner’s chair.  What will a Murray administration mean for issues like equitable development, access to affordable housing, quality jobs for Seattle’s service sector workers, and dependable access to transit?

Although the Murray and McGinn campaigns focused on different areas, progressives in Seattle will have plentiful opportunities to work with the new Mayor’s office.

During his four years in office, Mayor Mike McGinn provided leadership on developing good jobs in the green economy for young workers, promoted a city-wide local hiring policy to help neighborhoods with high unemployment, supported living wages, and opposed selling city property (the legal term is a ‘street vacation’) to developers for use by retailers like Whole Foods that don’t provide living wages and good benefits.

How will Ed Murray be different?  Not much, but a few distinctions remain.

Overall, Murray says he’s committed to “strengthening and protecting the working and middle class,” and “ensuring that Seattle does not become a city where only the very wealthy and the very poor live.” Murray has pledged support for $15 minimum wage for Seattle, phased in first for city employees, fast food and retail workers, and then for most workers “by the end of his first term.” Murray, like McGinn, is also committed to enforcing Seattle’s wage theft and paid sick leave laws.

When it comes to ensuring that communities receive real benefits from development projects, a Murray administration will likely be hesitant to employ some policy tools community groups deem important. In statements this summer, Murray opposed McGinn’s decision to deny a request from Whole Foods for a street vacation for their proposed West Seattle store. Sage, along with many community groups and unions, has found street vacation permits a useful way to get developers to agree to better environmental and labor policies.

Like McGinn, Murray says he supports inclusionary housing policies in growing neighborhoods like South Lake Union. His Economic Opportunity Agenda states that future development should include maximum benefits…including increasing the number of public housing units that developers must provide.”

Under McGinn, the City embraced policies to prevent displacement of immigrant and communities of color from southeast Seattle near light rail development. The City’s Community Cornerstones Project is focusing on supporting immigrant businesses and cultural institutions, along with affordable housing near light rail.  Murray proposes “building a small-business incubator service for assisting new immigrant-led small businesses,” and more affordable housing in general.

All of this means progressives can continue look forward to opportunities to work with the new Mayor’s office on policies that build thriving communities for the next four years.

SeaTac’s Prop 1 is a Bellwether in Living Wage Movement

Voters in the City of SeaTac this week appear to have approved a precedent-setting Living Wage ballot initiative, although ballots are still being counted.  The pending victory comes after a nearly year-long campaign by a strong community-labor partnership.

Even if Prop 1 wins, the campaign is not over, as Alaska Airlines and many of the funders backing the opposition campaign are likely pursuing legal measures to prevent the implementation of the voter approved law.

SeaTac’s Proposition 1 is not the first living wage at airports, but it has become the bellwether in the movement for a living wage.  The true benefit of Prop 1 lies not only in the living wage, but the comprehensive benefits and protections included in the language:

  • $15 dollar minimum wage indexed to inflation – for covered hotel, car rental, parking and airport service workers.
  • Paid Sick Days – workers accruing an hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked. For a full time employee, this is 6.5 days per year.
  • Worker Retention – replacement sub-contracting companies retaining the current workforce for 60 days.
  • Tips Theft Protection – ensuring that hotel service charges (tips) are paid entirely to workers, not kept by management.
  • Full Time Work – offering part-time employees the ability to work more hours before hiring new part-time employees.

The initiative covers large hotels, car rental firms, and airport parking in a zone surrounding the airport, and airport service workers, including retail and food service, plane cleaning and fueling, baggage loading, and wheelchair service. These interlocking, comprehensive benefits mean that not only will thousands of workers be lifted out of poverty, but they will also have more job security and better working conditions.

These policies will mean a win-win-win scenario for workers, businesses and the local economy.   Workers will see better standards, employers will see reduced turnover and improved performance, local businesses will have more customers, and the local economy will see a $54 million dollar wage boost.

Inclusionary Zoning: A Crucial Tool for Seattle’s Next Mayor to Address the Housing Crisis

Ed Murray appears poised for victory in Seattle’s mayoral election. As KPLU reporter Ashley Gross asserted in a recent story, Seattle’s new mayor will be challenged to address an affordable housing crisis in the city.

The challenge is a big one: Seattle is one of the top ten metro areas in the nation with the most dramatic increases in rental costs in 2012, and homelessness in the city is also on the rise.

At the same time Seattle is a city segregated by both race and income. In order to effectively address the segregation of opportunity that lies within Seattle’s housing crisis, inclusionary zoning is an important tool that must be on the table.

Inclusionary zoning arose out of the civil rights movement. Civil rights leaders advocated for inclusionary zoning as a housing policy to fight racial segregation and the economic attack on communities of color in the United States. But they weren’t just concerned about housing. They sought to ensure that people of color had the opportunity to share in the benefits of living in high opportunity neighborhoods, like strong schools, access to good jobs and safe streets and sidewalks.

Communities fought a long and uphill battle to win inclusionary zoning. One suburb Mt. Laurel in New Jersey fought particularly long and in the face of racism and marginalization by local government. But today, the fruits of their organizing have resulted in measurable outcomes for the families that eventually were able to live in this high opportunity suburb. A recent NY Times article profiled their experience and the work of Princeton sociologist Douglas S. Massey to compare the outcomes of families that were able to live in Mt. Laurel versus families that were constricted to low-income redlined neighborhoods.

Their recent book found that Mt. Laurel families have more economic success and their kids are doing better in school than families not able to afford the neighborhood. “Two-thirds are working, compared with just over half of the nonresidents, and a third as many, 4 percent, are on welfare. The sizable earnings gap, $19,687 versus $12,912 from wages, helps push the tenants living in the new housing out of poverty. The longer they stay in Mount Laurel, the better jobs they get and the more economically independent they become.”

The children of families living in Mt. Laurel, “study twice as many hours and spend more time reading.”

Inclusionary zoning creates these types of outcomes because it begins to dismantle barriers to affordable housing and then shares the benefits of high investment neighborhoods with families and households that have been historically shut out from opportunity. “I would go as far as to argue that what is truly American is not so much the individual but neighborhood inequality,” concludes the Harvard sociologist Robert J. Sampson in his landmark 2012 book, “Great American City.”

It is time for Seattle to address the segregation of opportunity in our city and our elected leaders will need this valuable policy tool.