Thousands of Sea-Tac Airport workers say they re living in poverty, barely able to afford food or electricity.
I have to prioritize between do I want the TV shut off or the electricity shut off, said Chris Smith, an airport worker.
He s one of many airport workers who have turned to food banks to stretch his resources and afford his rent. With 20 years experience working at the airport, the most he s made his $10 an hour.
It s sad, he said.
The City of SeaTac s Proposition One would increase their pay to a minimum of $15 an hour. Washington State s minimum wage is $9.19 an hour.
If voters approve it next week, nearly 6,300 airport workers will get a 63 percent raise
While only transportation and hospitality workers would be affected, businesses fear that raise could force them to close their doors.
It s going to create a labor market that s expecting $15 an hour, said Mike Condon, owner of Mike s Community Cup.
According to Condon, employees would cost more, hurting his bottom line.
I would have to charge $5 for a cup of coffee to make a profit, he said.
While recently renegotiating his lease, Condon asked for an opt-out clause in three months. If the proposition passes, he will move his coffee shop.
While supporters have raised nearly $1.1 million for the proposition, opponents have only raised about $648,000.
MSR Wholesale Balloons donated $50.
If this passes I ve got to think we re next in line, said Jeff Manke, owner.
While most of Manke s employees already make at least $15 an hour, he may relocate his business out of principle.
I don t want people telling me how to run my business, he said.
According to a study paid for by opponents of Prop. 1, if it s approved, the City of SeaTac would take a $3 million hit over the next five years, which could impact road projects and park maintenance. The City Manager s Office believes it s too early to predict an impact.