Judge hears case against $15 minimum wage

KENT — All eyes were on Seatac as a judge could rule on the controversial $15 dollar minimum wage which was approved by voters in November.

A judge heard arguments from supporters and opponents for more than 2 hours.

Attorneys for Alaska Airlines argued that the new law shouldn’t apply to businesses at the airport because that property is actually owned by the Port of Seattle.

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It all started with nearly 50 demonstrators carrying signs and shouting slogans outside the Kent courthouse – hoping their voice would be heard in a battle over what they call a livable wage.

Prop 1 squeaked out a narrow victory and is slated to go into effect on January 1.

The law raises the minimum wage for airport and hospitality workers in Seatac to the highest across the country.

But instead of siding with either workers or Alaska Airlines the judge tabled the issue, saying the matter was too complicated to make any decision on Friday.

Heather Weiner, a supporter of the $15 minimum wage, wasn’t disappointed to hear a decision would be delayed.

“What it says to us is that the judge is going to take a close look at what’s happening and at the legal argument,” said Weiner.  “I don’t see this as a good thing or a bad thing; once again just think we have to be patient.”

Herman Wacker, an attorney for Alaska Airlines, said if a decision doesn’t come soon, employers could be on the hook for back wages.

“If you were to have an appeal and the ordinance were to be validated, people would have a claim,” said Wacker.

The judge did not make a decision on Friday but did promise to make a judgment either at the end of next week or after Christmas.

No matter which way the judge decides both supporters and opponents of Prop 1 vow to appeal.

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