Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Labor & Workplace Standards Committee

ESSB 6217

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning minimum labor standards for certain employees working at an airport or air navigation facility.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce (originally sponsored by Senators Keiser, Saldaña, Nguyen, Hasegawa, Conway and Wilson, C.).

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

  • Provides that a municipality that operates or controls an airport with more than 20 million passenger boardings may enact a minimum labor standard under certain conditions.

Hearing Date: 2/24/20

Staff: Lily Smith (786-7175).


Municipal Airports.

Municipalities may establish, operate, and regulate municipal airports and other air navigational facilities. Municipal airports are under the exclusive jurisdiction, subject to state and federal law, of the municipality that controls or operates the airport. A municipality may be a county, city, town, airport district, or port district.

Minimum Wages.

Employers covered under the Minimum Wage Act are required to pay employees age 18 or older at least the state minimum hourly wage. The state minimum wage is set in statute until January 1, 2021, at which point the Department of Labor and Industries must adjust the minimum wage by the rate of inflation. The current state minimum wage is $13.50 per hour. Local jurisdictions are authorized to enact minimum wages and other standards more favorable to employees.

In 2013, Proposition 1 established a variety of requirements for hospitality and transportation businesses in the city of SeaTac, including a minimum wage standard of $15 per hour, adjusted for inflation. In 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court held that Proposition 1 could be enforced at SeaTac Airport, which is owned and operated by the Port of Seattle, so long as it did not interfere with airport operations.

Summary of Bill:

A municipality that controls or operates an airport with more than 20 million annual commercial passenger boardings may enact a minimum labor standard for employees at the airport when all of the following conditions apply:

The requirement that charges for the use of airport property be reasonable and uniform does not include any labor standard enacted under the bill.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.