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Feb. 19 — Fourteen putative class actions—alleging that thousands of workers in the first city in the nation to pass a $15 minimum wage haven't been paid the minimum—were filed by three Seattle law firms Feb. 16.
The complaints—with substantially the same content—identify as defendants well-known corporate names and entities working at or near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, including Menzies Aviation Inc., ABM Industries Inc., Aircraft Service International Group, Avis Budget Group Inc., Bags Inc., Fox Rent A Car Inc., GCA Services Group Inc., Golden Gate America LLC, Hanjin Global Logistics, The Hertz Corp., HMS Host North America, Huntleigh USA Corp., Prospect International Airport Services Corp. and Sixt Rent A Car LLC.
The complaint against Menzies and the 13 other lawsuits invoke the City of SeaTac municipal ordinance codifying the $15 minimum that was passed by voters as Proposition 1 in November 2013. The measure subsequently survived a challenge before the Washington Supreme Court brought by Alaska Airlines Inc., the Washington Restaurant Association and airport restaurant operator Filo Foods LLC.
The passage of the SeaTac ordinance was driven by a broad coalition spearheaded by organized labor. It led to a similar ordinance in Seattle in June of 2014 and gave impetus to legislative reconsideration across the nation of what the minimum should be.
The lawsuits accuse the companies of systematically paying less than the minimum to largely immigrant workers who service airplanes, check-in or haul baggage and handle food.
The lawsuits also cite the state's wage theft statute, which makes such willful action a misdemeanor and creates civil liability providing for double damages for withheld wages, as well as for costs and attorneys' fees.
To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Shukovsky in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.org
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