Parking Lot Workers In SeaTac Say Their Boss Isn't Paying The $15 Minimum Wage

Mar 12, 2014

At the beginning of the year, the minimum wage in the city of SeaTac jumped to $15 an hour for workers at large hotels and parking lot companies. But employees at one parking lot business have complained to the city that they still haven’t gotten the raise almost three months later. 

Thirteen employees of Extra Car Airport Parking in SeaTac have filed complaints with the city, saying their boss isn’t complying. KPLU obtained copies of the complaints through a Freedom of Information Act request. The workers say their boss instead gave them a 32-cent raise; many of them now make $10.32 an hour.

'Very Mad'

One of the people who filed a complaint is Lou Lehman, who works part-time at the company, driving cars between its parking lots. She says workers are upset.

"People are very mad," Lehman said. "They feel just slighted, like, 'Oh, they think we’re so stupid that we wouldn’t realize we’re not getting what we’re supposed to be getting?;"

Voters in SeaTac passed the $15-an-hour minimum wage last November by a narrow margin. The law was supposed to also cover ground crew workers at the airport, but a judge has struck down that part of the law because the airport is under the juristdiction of the Port of Seattle.

Michael Vergillo, who runs Extra Car Airport Parking, declined to comment on whether he’s given his workers a raise to $15 an hour.

"We are confident that we are in compliance with the requirements of the law, and in light of the situation, we have turned the matter over to our attorneys at this time," Vergillo said. "I really can’t comment any further than that."

City's Response

But workers say Extra Car meets the criteria spelled out in the law and should be paying them the higher wage.

SeaTac City Manager Todd Cutts says he’s sent a letter, telling Vergillo to comply. This is the first test of the city’s ability to enforce the new ordinance, and some critics of the law had said it would be too burdensome and costly for the city to police. Cutts says so far, it hasn’t been a burden, and these are the only complaints the city has received.