$15 minimum wage? City Council vote Monday after committee OK today; you might still vote in November

May 29, 2014 at 8:42 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 33 Comments

City leaders’ version of an ordinance eventually raising Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 goes to a final council vote next Monday. That’s after committee approval and amendments today, as reported by The Seattle Times (WSB partner), which notes that this proposal requires the businesses with the most workers to start paying $15 by 2017, with small businesses not getting there for seven years. See the full ordinance here, not yet updated with the amendments that passed from the long list proposed by councilmembers. Here’s what Councilmember Sally Clark, who chairs the income-inequality-focused committee, wrote after the vote. The 15Now organization, meantime, continues collecting signatures to get a faster-moving version on the November ballot, though its website declares “WE WON!” regarding today’s council vote.

33 Comments

  1. 18 amendments; amazing 2 ½ hr meeting; historic day

    Comment by Diane — 9:28 pm May 29, 2014 #

  2. thank you; I didn’t know how to find these docs

    Comment by Diane — 9:37 pm May 29, 2014 #

  3. I will be shopping in Belevue. Cleaner and free parking.

    Comment by Mike — 11:50 pm May 29, 2014 #

  4. This Mike can’t stand Bellevue. The market will determine how well this will work out, my gut tells me it’s going to displace many workers and be a cause for many businesses to shut down. I consider myself to be a conservative liberal. I see these things and although it’s got a nicey nice warm and fuzzy feeling for some, it’s going to hurt many others. McDonald’s on California Ave in ‘South Admiral’ was picketed recently over the wage increase idea. That made no sense to me as it’s not the megacorp of McDonald’s paying the workers there, it’s the franchise owner who pays McDonald’s hundreds of thousands of dollars to just use the McDonald’s name and product, that franchise owner pays the wages. You might see many franchise operations shut down as the cost to operate will not make financial sense.

    Comment by Mike — 12:49 am May 30, 2014 #

  5. This is one if the “warm and fuzzy” feel good things that will eventually be regretted by the people who voted it in.

    Large corporations aren’t going to pay for this out of pocket, we all will every time we patronize a business. Everything will cost a little bit more and we will have less employees to provide customer service.

    My heart goes out to the people who worked their way up to $14 an hour from minimum wage with hard work only to see their lazy coworkers make the same as them.

    I believe the cost of living is a lot in Seattle but this seems to be too large if an increase. $12.00 would have been a good start and it could be revisited in a few years.

    Comment by Ilasdad — 2:59 am May 30, 2014 #

  6. Dang it…why not make it $20 an hour???

    Comment by Red — 6:18 am May 30, 2014 #

  7. I have to agree with Mike #2.

    Comment by Bonnie — 7:13 am May 30, 2014 #

  8. I’m done tipping 20% at a restaurant.

    Comment by Oh Well — 7:48 am May 30, 2014 #

  9. @Llasdad

    Why on earth do you think that people making less the 14$/hour are lazy? Get off of your freaking entitled high horse. I’m feel happy that my city council had the courage to act to improve the lives of the people in this city, and not get stuck in gridlock like our state and federal governments.

    And I’m certainly happy to pay an extra nickel or dime for a cappuccino – heck, McDonalds raised priced 15 cents last week and no one even noticed. But I can bet when McDonalds raises prices again next year, Llasdad will be back raising holy hell claiming it’s all because of this wage increase.

    You know, if you don’t like it, you can always move.

    Comment by socamr — 8:17 am May 30, 2014 #

  10. To all the commenters predicting that a $15 minimum wage will lead to higher prices
    and mass layoffs: please provide real-world, specific historical examples to back up your claims. If there were real-world examples, the corporate media talking heads would recite them endlessly, much like the incessant incantation of “Benghazi”, “Solyndra”, and “Fast and Furious” we’ve been subjected to over the past several years. I look forward to hearing about all the previous minimum wage hikes which have destroyed economies worldwide, creating dystopian socialist nightmares like Australia, Denmark, Germany and Sweden.

    Comment by PR — 9:11 am May 30, 2014 #

  11. Did they ask the people who currently make $15 an hour how they feel about unskilled laborers making the same as them? No! This is just a quick fix. We need incentives for education and more. Most employers require a BA and years of experience to work skilled jobs. Yes, it is selfish, but I don’t want to make the same as a unskilled laborer. I worked many unskilled jobs making minimum wage, before I got an education, and made something of myself. I am not saying that unskilled workers do not work hard, they very much do. However, there has to be a level playing field, and the $15 minimum wage is just throwing money at people and not addressing serious political and social issues in America. Go with the $15 wage. Expect to see a backlash from skilled workers who will feel cheated.

    Comment by T — 10:02 am May 30, 2014 #

  12. To all of those that think this is a great idea – I challenge you to think about the social services in this city. All of them are funded by grants, fundraising and state/federal contracts…will they get a raise from those sources in order to make up the difference? My business for one will ABSOLUTELY have to close programs – the state and federal government are not going to raise our rates to provide these services, but we are being forced to raise the pay for 80% of our workforce. Where is that money supposed to come from? It’s ridiculous to think that minimum wage should be a livable wage. It’s not, it was never supposed to be. It’s a STARTING point. With a Master’s degree, I made $14 an hour at my first job, why on earth should someone mowing lawns, flipping burgers, or washing the floors make the same amount as me and my colleagues? Also, where the hell did $15 come from? Did anyone do research on this wage? Has there been a study on what this will do to our economy? Nope. Nothing logical like that has happened. Some crazy person just decided that $15 was a good amount and now we’re all stuck with it. I am so disappointed in this city. I am so disappointed that the small business owners and social service organizations have not been allowed to debate this. Shame on you Seattle, and shame on all of you who feel entitled to this – you are going to damage this city more than you can imagine. Oh, and by the way, in not too long from when this is implemented our local economy will adjust and once again prices will skyrocket and the “minimum wage” will not be considered livable….again. What is your plan for when that happens?

    Comment by JM — 10:48 am May 30, 2014 #

  13. @T. Thank you.

    This doesn’t raise the wages of all. It just focuses on the lower unskilled or entry level jobs.

    @socamr
    Not one to argue. Have a nice day.

    Comment by Ilasdad — 10:52 am May 30, 2014 #

  14. This is a bad idea. I’m all for raising minimum wage but $15 is a bit extreme. I will also echo the one commenter who suggested a change in tipping at restaurants. If this goes into effect, I will be tipping like they do in Europe.

    Comment by Paul — 11:04 am May 30, 2014 #

  15. this will at least be a start, to lift 100k Seattle low wage workers out of poverty, eventually; and lift all wages
    ~
    it will not be $15 for years; big, long phase-in
    ~
    so re Ilasdad comment; “$12.00 would have been a good start”
    ~
    it actually will start at $10 for small biz, and $11 for big biz (like Target, Starbucks)
    ~
    the Mayor’s proposal had a ton of loopholes; then the city council presented 18 amendments; which is what the 2 ½ hr meeting was about yesterday
    ~
    it’s been said repeatedly, Seattle living wage is far above $15
    ~
    min wage has not kept up with cost of living
    ~
    my first receptionist job in 1990 paid $10; now it’s 24 yrs later, and many receptionist jobs still only offer $10; that’s insane
    ~
    this is not just about fast food joints; this is about lifting everyone up, in all industries

    Comment by Diane — 11:28 am May 30, 2014 #

  16. JM; are you a small biz? small biz (defined as < 500 employees) only start out paying $10, with long phase in for 7 yrs; by the time small biz workers get lifted up to $15 in 2021, it will only be worth $13 (inflated adjusted wage)
    ~
    this new law has a TON of caveats that are HUGE benefit to businesses, and still leaves majority of workers struggling in poverty for years; so please stop blaming the poor workers for destroying your businesses
    ~
    the state min wage goes up on Jan 1 anyway; if you can’t afford to pay another 50 cents per worker on April 1, then there is something other than labor costs that is a problem in your biz plan

    Comment by Diane — 11:31 am May 30, 2014 #

  17. state min wage will be $9.54 on Jan 1

    Comment by Diane — 11:33 am May 30, 2014 #

  18. And for all those who don’t want to tip any more, that’s your prerogative. heck it’s your prerogative now. I know when I’m leaving a tip I’m not thinking “gee, my server only makes $6 hourly, I better make up for that with a big tip.” I’m thinking “That server did a good job and helped me have a pleasant meal, and I can say thanks.” But if you all want to go ahead and be ungrateful to people, there’s nothing stopping you except your own selfishness.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the standard tip go back to 15% instead of the 18-20 that seems the norm now. But that’s another conversation…

    Comment by socamr — 12:09 pm May 30, 2014 #

  19. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, gets paid what they’re “worth.” We all get paid what we negotiate for and what the market will bear, pure and simple. So don’t conflate what you make with what you’re “worth” or “earn,” and don’t personalize what others make as a reflection on you.
    .
    I have known minimum wage earners who worked twice as hard as I do and slackers who made well over six figures. That’s just life. Has nothing to do with me, personally.
    .
    If McDonalds employees make $15, maybe you should take that to your boss and demand more than $15. Ya think? Maybe this will improve wages for us all?

    Comment by Kayleigh — 12:48 pm May 30, 2014 #

  20. I work in a HUGE retail store (14 years) and have seen the effects of a crap economy and Obamacare and it’s effects on the employees . Obviously some haven’t . Labor hours change, associates hours get cut to mirror customer traffic and company profit.

    Expectations will change as quickly as pay does. Those employees who make a salary toward the low end will get cut and those near the high end will have to work MUCH harder.

    Been there, done that.

    Still think the entry pay is too low but a 66 percent increase is to much.

    We shall find out.

    Comment by Ilasdad — 1:26 pm May 30, 2014 #

  21. That 66% raise now, in one chunk (over 5-7 years) is the equivalent of a minimum wage increase of 1.25% steadily over the past 40 years (since 1974).

    The minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation over that period of time. There is no absolute consensus on what our social compact should look like. Right now, those minimum wage workers are in some cases qualifying for government benefits, such as subsidized housing and foodstamps. This is effectively a wealth transfer to employers, as their employees can be paid less by the employer, and still have a place to live and enough to eat.

    For all of those in the ‘pay for what you use’ group – how does this not apply to employers who are not paying the full cost of their use of employees? It would be great if there were a term for this so that there could be some welfare stigma attached to the corporations whose workers are government subsidized. “Subsidized Labor Welfare”?

    Comment by James — 2:37 pm May 30, 2014 #

  22. state min wage will be $9.54 on Jan 1
    ~
    min wage for Seattle small biz will only go up to $10; that’s 5% more
    ~
    min wage for HUGE (companies with 500+ ee’s) will only go up to $11; that’s 15% more
    ~
    how are you coming up 66% increase now? that doesn’t exist in this new law; it’s phased in over several years; up to 7 yrs for small biz

    Comment by Diane — 2:50 pm May 30, 2014 #

  23. Diane,

    I was using the previous poster’s supposition. an increase to $15.00 from $9.54 is a 57.3% increase.

    From $9.54 to $11.00 per hour in the first year, there is a 16.4% raise over current minimum wage After that, assuming ther rest of the raises are over the 7 year period, it works out to an approximate 6.5% raise per year over the remaining years to get to the $15.00 per hour. Then as I understand the increase will be indexed to inflation – just like IRS estate tax exemption amounts.

    http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Annual-Inflation-Adjustments-for-2013

    Comment by James — 4:31 pm May 30, 2014 #

  24. agree James; thanks; yes, I was referring to previous comment by Ilasdad that “66 percent increase is to much”

    Comment by Diane — 5:19 pm May 30, 2014 #

  25. Diane: “…an increase to $15.00 from $9.54 is a 57.3% increase.”

    $5.00 pint of beer today x 57.3% increase = $7.87. Pull out your wallets, every time this Council acts, we pay.

    Shame on Murray, shame on this Council.

    Comment by Cost of a beer — 6:31 pm May 30, 2014 #

  26. 15Now should pay someone $15 per hour to proofread their website. I guess this observation would be considered elitist, but when content is poorly written and full of mistakes, I don’t take that content seriously.

    Comment by Alphonse — 6:46 pm May 30, 2014 #

  27. I can’t wait to get out of here. This city is nuts. They bring in thousands of illegal workers each year to depress wages for workers with no or low skills, then act all concerned about wage disparity. Those people are likely to have no job at all this time next year.
    .
    Same thing with education. They bring in completely illiterate non-English speaking students and then accuse us of “racism” because there is a disparity in academic achievement.
    .
    Same thing with homelessness. We provide so much for our homeless, then they import more!

    Comment by JoAnne — 3:48 pm May 31, 2014 #

  28. Imagine summer is coming up and you tell your son or daughter who just turned 16 it is time to get your first job. Well guess what all the jobs are taken by older people from just out side the city. With the wage hike young people looking for there first job are toast.

    Comment by rob — 4:06 pm May 31, 2014 #

  29. Maybe the restaurant owners should exercise their right to refuse service to anyone starting with 86ing the City Council members.

    Comment by JJ — 10:27 pm May 31, 2014 #

  30. In case you haven’t noticed since the time when some of us were happy earning $1.60 minimum wage back in 1970 inflation has caused everything to cost more. The minimum wage hasn’t kept up with the inflation throughout those years. To all the math challenged who can’t figure it out please contact someone you know who can do the math and have that person explain it to you. To those who think it is too much money why don’t you try living on approx $2,000 take home per month for a couple of months. There are many more reasons why raising the minimum wage is a good idea but those will have to wait for another discussion.

    Comment by WS since '66 — 11:03 am June 1, 2014 #

  31. Thank goodness I live near White Center and Burien. I will still be able to afford a dinner out.
    This is a terrible idea. I think we should be able to vote on this, but the council will probably just cram it down our throats anyway, like he bag ban.

    Comment by AJ — 1:20 pm June 1, 2014 #

  32. Diane, no, my business is not a small business. We employ 1000 people across the state. Social Services consistently operate in the red, and that’s with receiving funding from the state (which is already too low). If we increase the wages for the 80% of our employees to $15 an hour and are not getting a higher rate for our services from the state and federal government we will HAVE to close programs. This is the case with EVERY social service organization in Seattle. What does that mean for you? More homeless people without services, more alcoholics and mentally unstable individuals not able to receive services…etc, etc. etc.

    This is so stupid. I’m incredibly concerned for our city.

    Comment by JM — 2:35 pm June 2, 2014 #

  33. I understand everyone’s fears because it is change which most people can’t tolerate. Why is the focus on someone making $15/hr? Why not go after the 1% who are robbing us blind, don’t pay their fair share in taxes, and have gotten where they are because they have benefited from of our system? With everyone making predictions for the future, dire ones at that, I thought maybe this was a gathering of psychics. People are still flocking to Seattle to make it their home. No one is forcing anyone to stay here you can move if you like and so can I. If you are one to visit fast food places then you know there are senior citizens who also work there not just teenagers. Those against people eking out a living on $15.00 minimum wage (remember this is 2014 not the 1970s when some of us grew up) should try and live on $2,000 a month. And try it for at least 6 months then come back and comment.

    Comment by WS since '66 — 3:29 pm June 4, 2014 #

Sorry, comment time is over.

All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^