A ‘Sky-High’ Minimum Wage: Is SeaTac Doomed to Become the Next Detroit?

BY Paul Solman  November 6, 2013 at 3:20 PM EST


A living wage is a win for all workers, right? In Tuesday’s Making Sen$e story on a $15-an-hour minimum wage ballot initiative in SeaTac, Wash., Paul Solman spoke with Seattle-Tacoma airport workers who have trouble getting by on Washington state’s $9.19 minimum wage — already the highest in the country. He also spoke with two small business owners who were opposed to the proposal. Even though the higher minimum wage would not apply to small businesses, presumably because they don’t have the cash flow to pay workers more, retired auto shop owner Mike West had a detailed argument as to why they would still be affected adversely. Watch his explanation in the web exclusive video above.

Also on Tuesday, we examined the hidden threat to air travel that is unpaid sick leave. The ballot initiative in Washington, whose Election Day fate is still being determined, would grant paid sick leave to airport workers for the first time.

Kicking off our week-long look at living wages, senior correspondent Hari Sreenivasan followed a New York City fast-food worker living paycheck-to-paycheck Monday on the broadcast. Online, Paul spoke with Dr. Diana Pearce, a sociologist who developed the “Self-Sufficiency Standard” as a geographic-specific, bare-bones budget for independent survival. Find out what the Standard is in your area and read more about why Pearce developed it here.


Paul Solman explored SeaTac, Wash.’s, ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Tuesday’s Making Sen$e segment.


This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown — NewsHour’s blog of news and insight.