Car Rental Workers At Seattle Airport Win Nearly Two Million Dollars In Back Pay

In one of the largest back-pay cases in the state’s history, 150 car rental workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington won nearly two million dollars last week in back-pay and interest from Hertz and Thrifty rental agencies after the companies failed pay workers the minimum wage.  The small city of SeaTac, where the airport is located, became the first in the nation to raise the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour in 2013 after voters approved the measure by a razor thin margin.  The rental agencies refused to pay workers the full wage during months of legal challenges, until the state Supreme Court ruled that the minimum wage applied to workers at the airport and Port of Seattle in September of 2015.  Some of the workers had been shorted as much as 30,000 dollars.  Earlier cases brought by other airline and hospitality workers at the airport have resulted in twelve million dollars in back payments to workers.  Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Public Affairs Director Matthew Erlich:

[Matthew Erlich]: ““We received 157 wage complaints that workers with Hertz and Thrifty filed basically alleging that they didn’t get paid the money that they were owed under the now 15 dollar minimum wage.  We ended up citing Hertz, and in negotiaions got nearly two million dollars in back pay for those workers.  This money will make a real difference for these workers and their families.  One of our goals is to help make sure that there’s an even playing field, if you will.   People have a right to get paid what they’ve worked hard for.  Our investigation reached a fair resolution for the employers and the workers, and at least means that the workers will be able to get the money that they’re owed.”

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