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Some Sea-Tac baggage handlers on strike demanding $15/hr wage

Photo: KOMO News
Photo: KOMO News
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SEATAC, Wash. -- About 50 baggage handlers and ramp workers with Menzies, Inc. are striking at Sea-Tac Airport Monday, protesting what they say is the company's failure to pay them their city-mandated minimum wage.

Voters in SeaTac approved a $15 minimum wage via Prop 1 in November 2013, and the State Supreme Court has since upheld the law after it was challenged.

The group is demanding the company and Alaska Airlines, which contracts through Menzies, to abide by SeaTac law and pay them $15 an hour.

Some workers say they do not make a straight $15 an hour.

"Right now, my base pay is $12 an hour but if we clock in on time, we supposedly get an incentive, which comes out to $15," said Socrates Bravo, who works for Menzies.

"The wage doesn't pay the rent," added former Menzies employee Michael Church. "It doesn't buy groceries. You barely get to use your vacation time, because they're short all the time."

Some workers also claim they're intimidated to come to work when they should be out sick.

Alaska says the strike hasn't had any impact on operations.

"Our focus is on the legality of Proposition One applying to the airport," an Alaska spokesperson said in a statement released to KOMO News. "We support higher minimum wages so long as they are reasonable, fair across the state, and do not single out specific industries, such as aviation." The airline also noted any Menzeis employee who works their schedule for a week gets a $3/hr bonus for each hour worked, bringing them to $15 per hour.

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The protest is scheduled to continue until 4 p.m. Monday.

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