Disorderly conduct charges dropped against Seattle city council member

Reuters News
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Posted: May 01, 2015 5:47 PM

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Disorderly conduct charges were dropped on Friday against a Seattle City Council member arrested in November outside Alaska Airlines offices in the suburb of SeaTac while supporting a voter-backed $15 minimum wage, an aide said.

Kshama Sawant, who championed "anti-corporate" causes during her 2013 campaign, was among several people arrested at the rally in suburban SeaTac against what they said was the carrier's opposition to the higher wage floor.

Disorderly conduct charges against Sawant were thrown out by a SeaTac judge, said Philip Locker, Sawant's campaign spokesman. The decision came on May 1, International Labor Day.

Nine days before Sawant joined about 100 protesters at the rally, Airlines for America, a trade group that represents major air carriers, including Alaska Air Group, sued the Port of Seattle to block planned pay increases for airport workers.

The group argued that wage hikes conflict with state and federal law and labor agreements.

"Alaska Airlines supports fair-wage jobs and voluntarily increased wages in April for more than 1,000 vendor employees at the airport, prior to the Port of Seattle taking action in this area," the company said in a statement at the time.

Voters in SeaTac approved a $15 minimum wage for many workers in 2013 but airport employees were later excluded by a court order.

In Seattle, a new wage floor took effect in April giving some workers a bump in compensation on the way to a $15 hourly wage, among the highest big-city U.S. pay minimums.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle)