SeaTac Airport Service Providers in Hot Water

June 29, 2016 5:24 am
by David Jakeman

If you’re a SeaTac immigration attorney and you’ve been on an airplane, you’ve likely been through the Seattle-Tacoma international Airport. What you may have not realized is how connected your experience may have been linked to immigrant labor—underpaid labor that is. So next time you fly, it’s something you can think about.

Underpaid SeaTac Immigrants

The news of underpaid immigrant workers at airports came to light earlier this year when three Seattle law firms filed class-action lawsuits, arguing that thousands of workers have not been paid the $15 minimum required by Seattle law. Immigrants can often be the target of underhanded tactics, and it’s possible that some companies hoped that their employees’ immigration status would allow them to pay less. Not if the lawyers have anything to do about it.

Those named as defendants reads like a who’s who in global aviation services. Among them include Avis Budget Group inc., Fox Rent A Car Inc., Prospect International Airport Services, ABM Industries Inc., and Bags Inc. The lawsuit makes use of SeaTac ordinance on minimum wage, which Seattle immigration attorneys know passed in 2013.

Immigrant Work and Services Provided

Immigrants often work hard to make ends meet in their new country, and airports actually provide jobs for many first starting out. Airport jobs for more established citizens in the United States are not the most desirable, in part because it can mean driving a larger distance to work and more of a hassle getting to your job. It’s not just Seattle, but airports all around the country that rely on immigrant labor to keep bags in the right direction, service airplanes, and prepare food.

So next time you get on an airplane, you might have to think about all the immigrants keeping everything running. It remains to be seen what the outcome of this class action lawsuit will be, but it will likely keep airports around the country on their toes, as more and more states and municipalities are mulling the idea of raising the minimum wage. And next time you’re in the SeaTac airport, just remember to be extra nice making sure you get to your destination in time. The employees may not have gotten their full paycheck to begin with.

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