Here are some highlights (and link) of Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant's responses to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's recent $15 minimum wage proposal for Seattle's workers:
The fact that the City Council of a major city in the US will discuss in the coming weeks raising the minimum wage to 15 is a testament to how working people can push back against the status quo of poverty, inequality, and injustice. The movement, starting with fast food workers nationwide, and pushed forward by SeaTac and 15 Now, is forcing business and the political establishment to accept raising our wages.
I don’t support phasing-in for big business. McDonalds and Starbucks have no justification for keeping their workers in poverty for a day longer.
For workers in Seattle, 11 years is a very long time to wait for a decent wage. Every year of a phase in is another year of poverty for workers.
I do not support tip credit. Tip credit has proven itself to be a cause of poverty for tipped workers in the 43 states it exists in. It also overturns the 1988 democratic majority vote by WA state workers.
I do not see why businesses should get a healthcare credit. Business executives don’t have to make a choice between a decent wage and health care for their families. Why should workers have to make this false choice? Workers make this city run, and they deserve wages, tips, and healthcare.
The proposal I support is the proposal Labor and I brought to the IIAC and which was never voted on. Labor members and I had put forward a proposal that:
had no phase-in for big business. Big business has to pay 15 now
had a 3 year phase-in for small business and nonprofits
that had no tip credit and healthcare credit, and will be far more stronger
That proposal was not voted on, even though workers in Seattle overwhelmingly support it.
We still need a backup option should the city council fail to pass 15, which is why we need to keep up the pressure through signature collection.Meanwhile, on the international end of things, the Guardian UK is warning of all out "class warfare" in Seattle over the brewing minimum wage fight:
Join the movement of 15 Now to gather signatures to let the City Council know we are watching.
Sawant’s campaign has resonated far beyond her city, giving her a degree of national recognition few local councillors ever enjoy. Her response on a Seattle cable channel to Barack Obama’s state of the nation address in January, in which she accused the president of betraying Americans mired in poverty , spread via the internet and reinforced her growing reputation among activists outside Seattle.And here in Washington State, another 15Now group has joined the ranks: 15Now Tacoma!
Branches of a pressure group she helped established in the wake of her election, 15 Now, have sprung up from New York and Florida to California to replicate the minimum wage campaign there.