Skip to comments.Seattle is probably going to enact a $15/hour minimum wage
Posted on 05/02/2014 7:26:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Last November, Seattle elected a straight-up socialist to their City Council who, among other economic/social-justice aspirations, included the already popular idea of a minimum wage hike to $15/hour in her campaign platform. Evidently, the fact that that is now very likely going to happen in a gradual phase-in over the next few years isn’t quite good enough for her, via the NYT:
Mayor Ed Murray presented on Thursday what he described as an imperfect but workable plan to increase the citys minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum wage and one of the highest anywhere in the nation, through a series of complex and phased-in stages. Just as crucially, he said, the plan has broad political support, with a coalition of labor and business groups ready to push hard for it at the City Council, starting with the first hearings next week.
But the plan, which in many other cities might be seen as a liberal Democratic agenda at the frontier of social and economic engineering, was immediately attacked not from the mayors right, but from his left.
Kshama Sawant, a Socialist Alternative Party member who was elected to the Seattle City Council last year on a single-minded drive to raise wages, said the plan had been watered down by business interests on the mayors 24-member committee on income inequality, of which she was also a member. In a packed news conference at City Hall right after Mr. Murrays, she called on her supporters to continue their effort to gather signatures for a possible ballot initiative on wages this fall. The campaign might also put pressure on the Council to make the mayors plan better for workers, she suggested. Every year of a phase-in means yet another year in poverty for a worker, Ms. Sawant said. Our work is far from done.
A handy 21 of the city’s 24 council members are on board with the plan, which designates that large Seattle-based employers (with 500+ employees, no matter where those employees are in the country) start paying the $15/hour rate as soon as 2017 with smaller businesses phasing in by 2021 — and all this despite the fact that Washington already has the highest minimum wage in the country:
Washington is home to the nations highest state minimum wage, at $9.32 an hour. As of April 8, 38 states had considered minimum wage bills in 2014, with 34 of them considering increases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota and West Virginia have passed increases. Hawaii is expected to join that list after legislators approved a future hike Tuesday to $10.10, the level President Obama has pushed for nationwide. Workers in several states will see minimum wages of at least $10 in several states within a few years.
States and cities have led the charge as federal legislation has languished. San Francisco started the year with a $10.74 minimum wage, while Sante Fes hit $10.66 on March 1. A $15 minimum wage went into effect for some workers on Jan. 1 in SeaTac, the small city that is home to SeattleTacoma International Airport.
I might add that, while a “coalition of business and labor groups are ready to push hard” for the hike, there are other groups equally ready to push hard against it:
Seattles push to become the first big U.S. city with a $15-an-hour minimum wage has hit a snag: opposition from waiters and bartenders. …
People are talking about moving to a European system of tipping, says Maloney, 28, meaning less automatic and not as generous. She has become a spokeswoman for a group called Tips Are Wages, appearing in the Seattle Times, KIRO Radio, and other local media to argue for a carve-out that keeps tipped workers at a lower minimum. I have built a life around the current model of tipping, she says. …
Restaurants have warned they might boost menu prices as much as 25 percent or force servers to share more of their tips with cooks, dishwashers, and other back-of-the-house staff. …
Kshama Sawant, a socialist elected to the council on her own $15 pledge, calls those suggestions fear mongering and says people who cling to tips miss the point. We dont want any worker to be beholden to the mood of the customer on any given day, she says.
Well. So much for the “service” industry.
I would estimate that Seattle will eventually come to regret this decision in the long run, but hey, that’s what federalism and local governance are for, I suppose — a notion that desperate Democrats in Washington are currently refusing to grasp.
Seattle will not be the only place where lemmings flock to the polls to vote themselves a raise if it gets on the ballot.
It won’t be long before only “the beautiful people” will be able to afford eating at McDonalds.
Sounds awesome but why are they aiming so low?
Make it 50 bucks/hr and everybody will be really well off!
will be interesting to see how many jobs are lost in Seattle as a result of this.
I know the liberal view is that, if you oppose minimum wage increases, then you hate the working poor. This is the narrative we’re up against.
But, is a job paying $10 an hour better than having no job at all, if your job isn’t worth $15 an hour to pay someone to do the tasks you do?
Maybe the liberals would actually like to see more people lose jobs, then be on public assistance, and vote Democrat, as Democrats will continue to increase public assistance benefits. And the liberals will blame job losses on greedy businessmen, not on business conditions which don’t support such a high minimum wage.
And after businesses close up shop and more people are on the street the ONLY reason it won’t be rescinded is EGO
Gotta give the down and outers that wage so that they can afford to take May 1 off to riot.
Right... and they’ll have to call ahead for reservations, too!
Isn’t it great that we have different “crucibles of democracy” in the US where others can make mistakes and the others can stay far away. I likely won’t get within a thousand miles of Seattle, and now I have even more reasons to stay away. I would prefer, though that they make the minimum wage even higher. $15 in a large city is still not a “living wage”. $75 per hour might be enough to drive every one out and we could have another Detroit.
I suspect that many service industry companies will no locate outside of the Seattle and conduct “service calls”.
I think this is great. Lets try it and see what happens. My guess is that they will then need to raise taxes on greedy business owners to help the newly unemployed while robots take your order at McDonald’s.
Have they thought about the fact that Starbucks will have to raise their price on a cup of mud?
You mean vote the union goons a raise. People will just be voting themselves unemployed.
The only reason people eat at Mickey D’s is because it’s cheap. I can roll a nickel down the street and hit 10 better burger joints. When Mickey D’s burgers start costing as much as what the gourmet joints charge, they no longer serve a purpose.
I’m not spending $6 on a sloppily put together burger served to me by someone with zero personality and even less customer service skills. These people are paid to press a picture of some food on a touch screen. And don’t hand them a coupon. You’ll turn their world upside down.
I swear monkeys could do the same job if we didn’t have to worry about sanitation issues. But then again, we still have to worry about sanitation issues.
“Maybe the liberals would actually like to see more people lose jobs, then be on public assistance, and vote Democrat”
Someone please explain to me why a burger flipper deserves to make as much as a Nurse’s Assistant, Computer Help Desk Technician, Dental Assistant, etc? These jobs take at least a year of formal education.
So guess what happens when the Dental Assistant is making the same as a burger flipper? They’ll probably get pissed off and want to unionize...
Detroit part deux.
It is hardly fair to demand that only workers who receive the minimum wage earn this. All citizens who do not make above this wage, working or not, must be guaranteed such an income.
The anachronistic idea that wages and labor must be intertwined needs to be jettisoned as the discriminatory practice it is. We don’t want to force people to engage in work that keeps them from pursuing their innermost desire. Even if that innermost desire involves explosive chemicals and unsavory associates.
It is the primary function of our elected officials to make sure we have lives of comfort, security, and equality. Equality not just in opportunity but in outcome. I wish some people would grasp that and stop going on about liberty, education, morality, and hard work.
Embrace a new vision for the People’s Cooperative of Seattle now.
Well at least the people who serve up the food in the sup lines will be making a "living wage". The rest can just wait their turn and be thankful to the government for the free grog.