Seattle: Sky Chefs caterer must pay $335,000 over minimum wage dispute

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle has ordered a company that provides catered food for airline flights and to be sold at convenience stores to pay $335,000 for violations of the city’s minimum wage law.

Seattle’s law took effect in April 2015 and is incrementally raising the minimum to $15 an hour. But the city’s Office of Labor Standards said LSG Sky Chefs, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, failed to increase its pay as required.

The company insisted the federal Railway Labor Act precluded it from changing wages during collective bargaining, and in a statement Wednesday it said it disagrees with the city’s findings and will vigorously contest them.

The city said 156 workers should share about $320,000 in back pay, interest and damages. It also levied $15,500 in penalties for first-time violations and for obstructing the investigation.

Officials said that when Sky Chefs turned over payroll records for the workers, it did so by providing a non-alphabetized stack of 14,000 pieces of paper. Investigators had to spend more than 200 hours calculating each worker’s wages, shift differentials and overtime payments.