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Demonstrators shout slogans and carry banners in SeaTac, Washington during a protest march from SeaTac to Seattle aimed at the fast food industry and raising the federal minimum wage and Seattle's minimum wage to $15 an hour December 5, 2013. Fast-food workers in hundreds of cities across the United States kicked off a day of strikes and rallies on Thursday to demand a higher minimum wage. The largest job actions were expected in New York and Washington, organizers said. SeaTac voters recently passed a law increasing the minimum wage in that city to $15 an hour. REUTERS/David Ryder (UNITED STATES - Tags: FOOD BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CIVIL UNREST) - RTX165DE
Seattle's minimum wage would rise to $15 an hour, the highest in the country, under a proposal announced Thursday by Mayor Ed Murray. The plan, backed by 21 of 24 members of Murray's advisory committee on the issue, phases in gradually, with different calendars for large and small businesses.

Businesses with 500 or more employees nationally will be required to pay the $15 minimum wage in three years, unless they offer health coverage, in which case they get four years. Businesses with fewer than 500 workers will get seven years to meet $15 an hour, though:

Within the first five years, a “temporary compensation responsibility “ of $15 an hour must be met by combining employer-paid health care contributions, tips received by consumers, and wages. [...]

"This a historic moment for Seattle," Murray said at a news conference Thursday.  "In seven years, a Seattle minimum wage worker will earn at least $4 an hour and $6,240 a year more than people elsewhere in Washington."

Seattle's $15 minimum wage will also rise by 2.4 percent each year once it reaches $15. Washington has had the highest state minimum wage, at $9.32 an hour, though several other states and the District of Columbia are now moving toward $10 or more an hour.

The advisory council members supporting the plan include union and business representatives, with one of the opponents being Socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant, who supports a less gradual phase-in. If she and other activists see the current proposal as too weak, they could seek a ballot vote on the issue.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Good News and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Look like around 100,000 workers (6+ / 0-)

    would be affected by this -which I imagine is pretty manageable for a city this size.

    I wonder who works minimum wage positions in Seattle? Fast food and janitorial? I imagine that tipped service positions aren't counted - although this proposal will make even tipped workers make at least 15/hr following the multi-year deadline.

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:29:01 AM PDT

  •  Sawant (6+ / 0-)

    Kshama Sawant was elected because Seattle's workers are struggling with extreme gentrification right now:

    Across the street at the high-rise apartment tower Aspira, a one-bedroom unit starts at just under $2,000 — more than twice what many residents pay at the three-story Williamsburg Court.

    “I work two jobs so that I can live in the city, but I don’t know what we’re going to do,” said Mali Lustica, 36, a hotel concierge and retail sales clerk who lives at Williamsburg Court. “I’m trying to find something else in the city, but everything is so expensive.”

    A 7-year phase in is way too slow with Seattle's rents increasing just about every month.

    "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

    by Seattle Socialist on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:37:29 AM PDT

  •  The News Hour did a hit job on this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ericlewis0, blueoregon, hawkseye

    They interviewed a few progressive employers in the food industry and made it seem like this was going to destroy their businesses.

    What they didn't show was the phase in time of 3 to 7 years!  That makes a huge difference.  Thanks for the information.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:43:52 AM PDT

    •  I saw that PBS script by/for business interests. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It was poor journalism and even silly.  San Francisco, for instance, has had a ten dollar plus minimum wage for several years and SF is booming.  I haven't heard any large or small business owners whining from there.
      Anyone with half a brain knows that the more money people have to spend the better the economy is.
      In WWII, everyone worked for pretty good wages, and the corporations paid 90% income tax.  CEO's pay was limited to a small multiple (about 20x, as I recall) of the lowest paid workers' wages.  It was boom time and big and small business didn't bitch and moan even though they had stringent regulations to follow to prevent war profiteering.
      The war was hell, but government lifted us up.
      The unions were also quite strong.  At the same time, we paid down the cost of the war AND through the Fifties, government invested in infrastructure without any goddamned offsets.
      FDR kept his hat and cigarette-in-holder at a jaunty angle and made fun of the super-rich.  "And do you think all those rich people are really happy with all that money?" he asked sadly of a big campaign crowd.  And then he hooted, "You're damned right they are!"      

      Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

      by hawkseye on Thu May 01, 2014 at 02:14:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Underwhelming (4+ / 0-)

    I hope this doesn't put a damp on the movement for a ballot initiative for something strong. 500 employees being the definition of a small business is too large. I'm very disappointed that this proposal includes benefits and tip credits into the total wages. Seattle is just too expensive. This is only a beginning.

    Greedy Old Parasites

    by Steeler on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:46:12 AM PDT

  •  WHAT about Restaurant workers? Still $2.10 ? (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoregon, cville townie
    Hidden by:

    Forget tips and HealthCare costs for god sakes, pay people a #LIVINGWAGE

    Proud to be part of the 21st Century Democratic Majority Party of the 3M's.. Multiracial, Multigender and MiddleClass

    by LOrion on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:33:13 PM PDT

  •  Now, that's living wage. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TerryDarc, ehstronghold

    "To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, that world would be heaven enough for us all." - Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

    by blueoregon on Thu May 01, 2014 at 12:41:43 PM PDT

    •  Now THAT'S a sensible comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rikon Snow, ehstronghold

      The glass is only 75% full crowd have weighed in on how terrible this new proposal. When a progressive does something right, it'd be nice to hear support instead of bitching and moaning.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

      by TerryDarc on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:10:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's (0+ / 0-)

      a good compromise. Granted the minimum wage in Seattle won't be zooming to $15 overnight, but at least they'll get there.

      The Republican party is now an extreme right-wing party that is owned by their billionaire campaign contributors. - Bernie Sanders

      by ehstronghold on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:30:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No it isn't (0+ / 0-)

      My rent has gone up 17% in the last year and I don't live in one of the worst areas for rent increases.  My building is older and I count myself lucky to pay what I do.  With Amazon expanding north of downtown, rents have skyrocketed and older apartment buildings have been torn down to make room for offices and luxury apartments.  If you made $12/hour you being paying half of your gross pay to rent my studio.

      •  Move!!!! (0+ / 0-)

        New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

        by AlexDrew on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:23:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is INCREDIBLE news (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rikon Snow

    so, of course, it will be treated like its shit news here on Daily Kos

    fuck all the people who will benefit from this progress that NO other fucking city or state has taken, cause it's just not good enough!

    utopia or fuck everyone!


    Why did I come here expecting a positive response

    This place just likes to complain

    at least this diary was meh instead of whiny

    I guess that's as good as it gets for fantasy land

  •  Koch doesn't go with anything (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaddyO, Diana in NoVa

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:12:47 PM PDT

  •  Now THAT'S more LIKE IT (0+ / 0-)

    THAT'S what I call a NEGOTIATION, people.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:21:23 PM PDT

  •  Expect this to be challenged. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Republican party will go to the mat on this, all the way to the SCOTUS. Minimum wages are unconstitutional!!! (Scalia)

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:21:45 PM PDT

  •  We're on track for Six + Americas . . . (0+ / 0-)

    not two Americas . . .  instead . . .
    Progressive America (Ecotopia), Almost as Progressive America (New England), Reasonably Progressive America (California, Minnesota),Not Very Progressive America (Most Everywhere Else), Not Progressive America (Libertarian States), Texas, Mississippi . . .

    Not only who you were born to, but where you were born . . .

    Think about the baby Jesus. Up in that tower, letting His hair down so that the three wise men could climb up and spin the dreidle and see if there's six more weeks of winter. -- Will and Grace

    by Rikon Snow on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:23:01 PM PDT

  •  Nous ne sommes rien (0+ / 0-)

    soyons tout.

    Pay no attention to the upward redistribution of wealth!

    by ActivistGuy on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:26:03 PM PDT

  •  Find the schedule of wage increases here. (0+ / 0-)

    If you can understand it, consider yourself gifted.

    Four different schedules, designed for maximal confusion.

  •  People who make minimum wage working for (0+ / 0-)

    McDonalds would be not receiving $8000/hr the first year as opposed to the 15Now proposal.

    That's how big a giveaway this is to big business.  and similarly though not as dramatically to small businesses.

  •  Great news! (0+ / 0-)

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu May 01, 2014 at 02:33:05 PM PDT

  •  Tips in WA (0+ / 0-)

    Tipped workers in WA already get the full minimum wage - they end up making way more than they ought to in my opinion (and I grew up in my family's restaurant waiting tables). I live in Eastern Washington (TriCities) where the cost of living is a bit cheaper, but my girlfriend makes the equivalent of $30/hr waiting tables at a pizza/pasta joint. If she averages $10/hr in tips ($19.32/hr with hourly) she considers it a crappy night and actually gets upset.

    It's reached a point where I'm considering shelving my graphic design career so I can go work at Applebee's or something. Unfortunately I'm not as pretty as my girlfriend so they'd probably just make me a bus boy.

    WA needs a separate minimum wage for tipped earners. In a time when many other sectors were eating pay cuts, menu prices went up and tips along with them. My girlfriend recently graduated as a CMA but those jobs pay $11-14/hr around here - she basically wasted $20k. This is clearly a problem, when regression is the path to success.

    •  tipped staff (0+ / 0-)

      They get the tips because they work their buts off (I've done it) and still keep smiling.   Hard on the feet and back.  Try it and see how long you last.

    •  More than they ought to? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexasTom, begone

      Why snipe at people who are pulling a decent wage for a terrible job and advocate pulling them down so you're both suffering? Better to aim that discontent at the people paying you less than you think you deserve/need to live.

    •  I'm guessing... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that very few workers who depend on tips manage to average over $20/hour in tips like you claim your girlfriend does ($30 - $9.32 = $20.68/hour in tips).

      So I can't say that your anecdotal argument against the tipped minimum wage in Washington state holds much water...and I'm frankly surprised that your girlfriend wants to spend much time with you considering the very obvious chip on your shoulder over her income.

      If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

      by TexasTom on Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:08:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love Kshama Sawant (0+ / 0-)

    ...and I voted for her largely on her $15/hr platform.

    However, I think she would be wise to walk away from this fight, and claim victory. The net result of the Mayors proposal means that in 3 years for most people, and at most 7 years for everyone else, everyone will be getting paid a livable wage in Seattle.

    The danger of pushing this onto the ballot of course is that she loses there....  and I am fairly confident that she would lose there, just based on my conversations with fellow Sawant supporters...  While a lose of the $15-Now at the ballot  probably would not tank the Mayors plan (although it could even do that) the greater danger is that it would reduce Sawant's street cred and influence in the city council.  And I for one, want to see her on the council for a long long time.  And $15/hr is NOT the only area where she can flex her muscle, and provide very positive change.

    She has a legion of loyal supporters (I am one, even if I prefer the Mayors plan) that could be disheartened, and demoralized if her unwillingness to accept victory is seen as defeat.

  •  Not surprised (0+ / 0-)

    by all of the comments stating $15 is too much now.  So many have bought into the elite's BS of "they don't deserve it", wages have been left to stagnate as folks find they don't deserve it either.

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