$15 minimum wage? Mayor Murray makes his plan public

May 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 64 Comments

Mayor Ed Murray has just gone public with his minimum-wage-increase proposal. The City Council will start its review on Monday; meantime, the full details are in this news release from the mayor’s office. The toplines:

Small businesses (businesses with fewer than 500 employees) will reach a $15 per hour minimum wage in seven years. Also established is a temporary compensation responsibility of $15 per hour to be met within the first five years, which can be achieved by combining employer-paid health care contributions, consumer-paid tips, and employer-paid wages.

Large businesses (businesses with 500 or more employees, either in Seattle or nationally) will reach $15 per hour in three years. The wages of employees who receive health care benefits will reach $15 per hour in four years.

The proposal will be heard by the council’s Select Committee on Minimum Wage & Income Inequality on Monday (May 5th) at 2:30 pm. It’s already drawn opposition from the group 15 Now, which (as reported here two weeks ago) proposes a city charter amendment phasing in $15 over three years, less than half the phase-in time of the mayor’s plan.

64 Comments

  1. Great news! Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen, and to all who will be working to phase this in.

    Comment by DEF — 12:16 pm May 1, 2014 #

  2. I am against this idea and this plan in particular.

    That being said, if they are going to go through with this I really think it should be all of nothing.

    Either make it apply to everyone, evenly, immediately or gradually phase it in for everyone, on the same schedule.
    This treating one business different from the other is unfair – a business is a business. If the laws are going to apply, make them apply evenly.

    Comment by Ray — 12:45 pm May 1, 2014 #

  3. Did the mayor lay out a plan for those already earning 15/hour? Will their hourly wage increase as well?

    Comment by Case — 12:47 pm May 1, 2014 #

  4. Agreed Ray – apply it to all, and if it needs to be rolled out slowly then do so.

    Comment by B — 12:59 pm May 1, 2014 #

  5. Seven years? I appreciate the fact that Washington State has a very high minimum wage. And I appreciate the fact that the mayor of Seattle wants to raise the city minimum wage to a livable wage. But if one waits seven years to raise the minimum wage it’s hard to imagine how out of touch that seemingly wonderful wage in 2014 dollars will be in 2020 dollars.

    I’m also curious where the definition of a small business originated. I find it difficult to believe that businesses with 400, 300 or even 200 employees is in the same boat at the true small businesses in our community.

    In other words, this seems like a bunch of crap.

    Comment by WSGrrrl — 1:00 pm May 1, 2014 #

  6. I think it’s a needlessly complicated plan that benefits no one. Murray is trying to make everybody happy, which never works. Will cost of living and/or corporate profits freeze for seven years as well? I don’t think so.

    Comment by anonyme — 1:02 pm May 1, 2014 #

  7. It is unfair to those who make 15 to 20 dollars and hour. Why disrespect their hard work? We as a community should work on a gradual increase for all. Increasing a standard of living for all who work in trenches not just favoring the low end if the pay scale. An increase of one dollar would be a good start.

    Comment by North admiral homeowner — 1:16 pm May 1, 2014 #

  8. George Stigler is attributed for the adage “If you never miss a plane, you’re spending too much time at the airport.”

    or: the perfect is the enemy of good.

    Comment by James — 1:28 pm May 1, 2014 #

  9. I started my (very) small business in 2012. It’s very rewarding and exciting to navigate the challenges and start to become a bit more established.

    The mayor’s proposal for a phased approach takes into account different-sized businesses and is realistic for this complicated issue. There are no simple fixes here, unless the goal is to destroy small businesses or force us out of Seattle. Thankfully, the city’s leaders see that.

    Comment by wssz — 1:38 pm May 1, 2014 #

  10. A company with 499 employees is a “small business”?

    Comment by sb — 1:39 pm May 1, 2014 #

  11. There is a big difference between an employer with 499 employees and a small, local business that can maybe afford to hire 1-2 employees, or even 5. If they are going to create a difference, it should be more appropriate. A business with 499 employees is far from small.

    Comment by WSR — 2:10 pm May 1, 2014 #

  12. Just plain stupid. The Seattle way.

    Comment by Rick — 2:12 pm May 1, 2014 #

  13. If you thought Seattle was an expensive place to live now, wait til this kicks in. 2+2=4 every time people. You can’t get something for nothing.

    Comment by Les — 2:14 pm May 1, 2014 #

  14. Doesn’t seem especially complicated to me.

    I am surprised at the length of the phase in period.

    And I agree that the definition of a small business is interesting.

    But the hardliners will put their proposal on the November ballot, so we’ll see who has the votes.

    This debate is an interesting counterpoint to the Republicans in DC who can’t even bring themselves to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. That raising the federal minimum is even a topic for debate is pathetic.

    Comment by onion — 2:14 pm May 1, 2014 #

  15. No, North Admiral and Case, it is not disrespectful to those earning $15 to $20 an hour. This isn’t about the value of their work. What’s really disrespectful is the attitude that the lowest paid workers’ wages must be kept down in order for the rest of us to thrive.

    Comment by KBear — 2:34 pm May 1, 2014 #

  16. I’m concerned with how this erodes the wages of those who work difficult jobs who were making $15-20 who will suddenly only be earning minimum or barely better. If a high school kid scooping ice cream makes the same as someone manufacturing electronics (that’s about $16/hr) what will that do to the productivity of the manufacturer? If you’re making $30+ an hour sure you might not feel the sting of the minimum being lifted but those squarely in the middle are getting shafted somehow.

    Comment by trickycoolj — 2:50 pm May 1, 2014 #

  17. What happens to those who are on fixed incomes like Seniors and people with permanent disabilities who don’t get a raise to help off set the rising costs which will be passed on to consumers. Did Kshama Sawant think about that?

    Comment by Alki Warrior — 3:00 pm May 1, 2014 #

  18. I worked many long years and hard to make a bit over $15.00 an hour. I do feel a tad perturbed, KBear, and no one I know is thriving. I am also a realist who understands that this will only drive the already much much too high Seattle rents (etc) even higher.

    Comment by BWD — 3:06 pm May 1, 2014 #

  19. Small business size is defined by the Small Business Admn, see this:
    http://www.sba.gov/content/guide-size-standards
    The SBA is a Federal agency, started in 1953, to protect the interests of small businesses.
    Murray didnt make up the 500 employee guideline – its a stadard used basically everywhere in the US.

    Comment by zark — 3:10 pm May 1, 2014 #

  20. I think the point North Admiral and Case are trying to make has nothing to do with “holding the lowest paid workers down”. When I started my current job, I was paid less than $15 an hour and worked hard for almost five years to earn the raises which moved me above $15 an hour. I would be very disheartened and demotivated if the person who is just starting made the same wages on their first day as I was earning after working so hard to get to my wage level. Nothing in this law says someone who is currently making $15 an hour after working for years gets a proportionate raise on their hourly wage. So this is great for someone who only makes minimum wage, not so great if you’ve spent time and effort to earn the raises to get to $15. I’ll speculate there will be employers who will tell their existing employees who are making $15 they will not be getting raises because of the increased labor costs to bring all of their employees who are making less than $15 up to that mark. Thus creating a penalty and disincentive for those already at $15 an hour.

    Comment by Linda — 3:16 pm May 1, 2014 #

  21. While I agree with raising the minimum wage, this plan is terrible. A joke even.

    Comment by DP — 3:20 pm May 1, 2014 #

  22. Great point Alki Warrior, I doubt many supporters have considered that.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 3:43 pm May 1, 2014 #

  23. While not true in all cases seniors tend to have higher net worth than those of working age, as excerpted from census data below. New $15 an hour wage means more Social Security and Medicare taxes paid in to shore up those programs.

    “For householders 65 and older, median net worth was equal to $195,890 in 2005 and $170,128 in 2010; for householders under 35, median net worth was equal to $8,528 in 2005 and $5,402 in 2010.” – from census.gov

    Comment by James — 4:17 pm May 1, 2014 #

  24. So basically what you’re saying, Linda and BWD, is that you’re underpaid, and therefore those other people need to be paid even less? How is that fair?

    Comment by KBear — 4:20 pm May 1, 2014 #

  25. The biggest beneficiaries of this $15hr min. wage will be government, because they know tips will go away, therefore increasing workers tax base for people in the restaurant/service industry along with more taxable income from those that aren’t making $15. now. The other big winners will be rental property owners as they will increase rents as the wages go up and that’s a fact. Reality is almost everyone will be worse off especially the lower and medium class as everything they do now or buy will go up in cost and small businesses will fold up or move away = less jobs available. Wrong solution for the problem. But that’s what happens when you live in the most PC town in the US.

    Comment by wetone — 5:16 pm May 1, 2014 #

  26. If the $15 Now supporters manage to put this on the ballot because they are miffed at the compromise, they better be ready to wake up and smell the coffee–the electorate will defeat it.
    -
    IMHO, raising the minimum wage in Seattle only is a feel good maneuver that should be enacted at the state level if at all. Git your $5 latte right here folks.

    Comment by JayDee — 5:51 pm May 1, 2014 #

  27. KBear it absolutely IS disrespectful to those earning $15 to $20, and I speak as someone earning an hourly rate in that range.

    I worked throughout high school making a little more than minimum wage, and worked throughout college to lessen the amount I need to borrow to pay for my education. Now that I have a college degree and I’m at the start of my professional career, I’m making enough to cover my expenses, student loans included.

    Now you’re telling me that someone who doesn’t have the experience, skills, drive, and abilities that I do is worth the same hourly rate that I am? That’s disrespect if I’ve ever heard it. While everyone is making the new minimum wage with no skills, college grads like me will be making… minimum wage (with mountains of debt).

    Comment by Marissa — 6:05 pm May 1, 2014 #

  28. this makes no sense, lower the cost of living not raise wages. If a fry cook fresh out of high school can now make $15 an hour, guess what, that skilled worker that went and got a degree or license will now need to be paid more then the normal wage of $15 an hour. No way can I pay a person the same amount as a fast food worker. I got people that spend their own free time getting educated and licensed, take full responsibility for the work at ALL times, spend their own money to take test and get a license, yet now an unskilled worker will be at the same pay scale. makes no sense.
    The pay gap will always exist, it’s an incentive to get a better job not stay in a entry level job for your entire life.

    Comment by monroe1200 — 6:26 pm May 1, 2014 #

  29. Everyone gets a trophy!

    Comment by XXX — 6:35 pm May 1, 2014 #

  30. What a joke! Let the employer/ business owner decide what their employees are worth. If they don’t like what they are paid, go work for someone else. Or get trained to better yourself (work hard) and get a job that is worth more. Suck it up and do what it takes to have the life style you want. Don’t rely on your nanny government to make things “fair” for you. Grow up and learn on of life’s first lessons… It isn’t fair.

    Comment by Mike — 6:48 pm May 1, 2014 #

  31. As a small business owner this seemed hard to digest at first because nobody likes being told what to do, but then I realize that I already pay everyone over $15/hr that works for me. Then again there are a lot of different kind of businesses and it seems like the government is making it hard for legitimately small businesses to grow. Of course not 499 person companies, but 5-10 person companies.
    .
    It is already very expensive to run a company in Seattle with all their taxes, and employing people is very expensive as well, with all the taxes on top of salaries. So I would say for the truly small business it seems like a shame and that it would suck to see this hinder people from starting and growing a small company. We have enough giant corps out there calling the shots, telling our politicians how to vote.
    .
    In regards to those of you that have worked hard to make $15-$20 an hour, I feel for you and can see what that is frustrating. But I can see the other side too, I don’t think you could have an apartment, groceries, pay student loans, pay for gas and a car, etc if you made less than $15/hr right now. Much less if you were a single parent or something.
    .
    And to those saying “tough luck, get another job” well life’s not always that easy, it can be very scary out there.
    .
    Let’s be honest though, nobody here likely knows how it’s going to shake out. All of these amateur economists with the brilliant statements like “this is so stupid” have no idea what is going to happen.

    Comment by Jason — 7:53 pm May 1, 2014 #

  32. So much for the high school kid ever getting a part time sumer job. With the higher rate of pay the competition just got harder.

    Comment by rob — 8:31 pm May 1, 2014 #

  33. James… I’m not sure I understand your point. A median net worth of 170K for senior households is shockingly low when you consider that for many, most of their net worth is equity tied up in homes they have worked their entire lives to pay for. Now it seems you would be happy to run them out of town so that folks under 35 don’t have to work as hard for the next 30 years to build their own retirement security?

    Comment by Craig — 8:46 pm May 1, 2014 #

  34. Included in this plan is a mandated 2.4% increase in the minimum wage, yearly, independent of inflation. This means that anyone making 15 dollars an hour now will still get a guaranteed yearly wage increase at the very least, assuming the value of the work they’re doing hasn’t adjusted.

    Calm down.

    Comment by coopa — 8:55 pm May 1, 2014 #

  35. I am concerned about how this will affect high school and college students looking for a 1st job to get his or her foot in the door and learn important life skills and responsibilities.

    I have worked at the same financial services firm in Seattle since my junior year of high school (16 years). I received a fair wage, but more importantly, on site job skills and mentorship. Companies will be unable to give a kid with no prior experience, and unproven skills a chance to get his or her foot in the door at these inflated wages.

    Without that opportunity provided to me back in high school I would probably be cruising Alki in a gang rather than having a successful career.

    Comment by morgan 5 — 9:03 pm May 1, 2014 #

  36. Has anyone actually done a study to see if local small businesses can even survive a $15/hr minimum wage? I’d really like to know how many of our own West Seattle businesses along California Ave would be able to continue employing every current employee at that wage. I’d bet many would need to cut staff or shut down. Chain restaurants might be able to do it, but can others? How will this impact those that also make tips, will they also get in on the minimum wage increase or be hosed by laws excluding them due to the nature of incentive based pay of tips?

    Comment by Mike — 9:47 pm May 1, 2014 #

  37. If high school and college students are doing adult work, they should be paid adult wages. These are not “inflated” wages we’re talking about. If the national minimum wage had kept up with inflation, we’d already be there.

    Comment by KBear — 9:51 pm May 1, 2014 #

  38. KBear, working at McDonald’s, bagging groceries, operating a cash register at Menchie’s, delivering pizza, are these the types of adult work you’re thinking of?
    .
    You should also learn about inflation. Here, I’ll get you started: http://usinflation.org/us-inflation-rate/

    In 1993 I made $4.10 / hr (better than minimum wage then) making Pizza’s at Godfather’s Pizza. Enjoy your math. :)

    Comment by Mike — 11:32 pm May 1, 2014 #

  39. Liberal politicians always think they can demonize businesses, impose punitive taxes or any other hardship that strikes their fancy, and these businesses will continue to stay put.
    .
    They see Boeing with one foot out the door, and yet they still don’t get it.
    .
    Successful businesses are not usually run by stupid people who are willing to just stand there compliantly while government fleeces them.
    .
    If someone wants to make $15, they should EARN it. Forcing someone to pay you more than you are worth is just another form of a free handout.

    Comment by JoAnne — 7:49 am May 2, 2014 #

  40. I was watching the morning news and saw that Nevada had the lowest tippers in the country. Why? Probably because most of the restaurant employees in Las Vegas are unionized and make over $15 dollars an hour. I am sure tips will drop here too if this plan happens.

    Comment by marty — 7:51 am May 2, 2014 #

  41. What it will do is cause people not to tip anymore. I know I won’t be nearly as much. It will be similar to Europe where people will round up the bill a few dollars for exceptional service but the days of 20% tips in seattle are gone.

    It will also cause employers to be very cautious hiring people. At 15 dollars an hour, that is enough incentive for someone to be asked to do what two people formerly did. And it wouldn’t surprise me to see people avoid buying goods and services in seattle city limits if the cost of those are more expensive compared to neighboring cities. Want to see a how fast some of the these politicians flip flop? watch what happens when sales tax revenues fall short in seattle as a result of this and then schools, roads, and other things supported by sales taxes have to be cut or the sales tax increased.

    The simple fact is the market will determine what the cost and value of labor should be. Arbitrarily changing it will have several unintended, undesirable consequences.

    For those people clamoring for this, remember this in 5 years when you complain about the cost of living in seattle. Remember this when you complain about the cost of rents and gentrification in neighborhoods Iike west seattle and Capitol Hill.

    Comment by Not a fan — 8:06 am May 2, 2014 #

  42. If your sense of self-worth is dependent on de-valuing the work of others and keeping them in poverty, you have a serious moral deficiency.

    Comment by KBear — 8:33 am May 2, 2014 #

  43. KBear – Since when is it anyone’s responsibility to make sure someone else is not in poverty? People who make careers out of minimum wage jobs should expect that type of lifestyle if that is all they can do. That is not anyone’s fault but their own.

    I work in a pizza joint in high school and for a few months after I moved out. I did not go to college however I tried two different fields that I found interesting and I worked hard to get to where I am. I am now in upper management and make a six digit wage. No one gave it to me, no one de-valued me, its called the AMERICAN DREAM.

    You people who want these handouts from our government better be real careful what you wish for because it all sounds good to you at first. Free healthcare, high wages for low paying tasks, food stamps, housing etc…but there is a price to pay for that as a society gets used to it. I will be old and maybe gone but you may not be. And my heart will break for you.

    Comment by T Rex — 9:07 am May 2, 2014 #

  44. Craig,

    I just meant to say that seniors, while on fixed incomes for a lot of them, can be and are often relatively better off than they are percieved to be. The $170K median net worth was a nationwide statistic. A senior who owns their own home in Seattle could likely have a higher value of their home than if they lived in the average city.

    A lot of seniors also, when they can, and/or want to, work part time – sometimes in minimum wage jobs, so this measure could also help seniors.

    There are also a bevy of programs to help low income seniors that do not necessarily exist for younger people. I am very aware of these as I navigated my father (who was a senior citizen who lived to 92 years old) through them in order to allow him to maintain his standard of living in the face of inflation.

    Lastly, it is estimated that 24% of Seattle workers will see income increases from this legislation, and it is estimated that only $38,000 workers in Seattle (less than 10%) earn minimum wage – and some of these workers already get tips and healthcare – which will be credited against the $15 per hour, thereby blunting the effective amount a company will be out of pocket for worker raises. Someone currently making $14.50 per hour will see a less than 4% raise, but they are included in the 24% who will benefit listed above.

    A relatively small % of workers will benefit from this measure in getting the full bump up from the current minimum wage to what it will be in 7 years. I am not of the belief that this will be a spiralling cost of living catastrophe, but I like everyone else will wait and see.

    Comment by James — 9:22 am May 2, 2014 #

  45. I’ve worked since I was 10 years old, in every dirty, back-breaking job there is, and IMHO blow-back is going to be swift and severe. The restaurant industry, which I put myself through college in, will be destroyed. People don’t understand that not everyone works at Microsoft or Amazon and can easily afford huge premiums on their current consumption. It’s not the wage rates and mean-spirited Scrooge-like exploitation, but the rapidly escalating cost of living that’s hurting low-wage workers, and this does absolutely nothing but pour gasoline on that fire. I get the anti-yuppy sentiments and yes, we have lots of over-valued and over-paid people in high-paying jobs around here that drive up the cost of living. But the answer isn’t to further tax an already struggling middle-class, especially those with incomes that break down to just over $15 per hour. Think of the impact this will have on people like school teachers, for example. 1 night out per month will become 0 nights out per month. My family has patronized Junction businesses for the past 18 years, and I know many of the owners personally. But I won’t be able to maintain that support if a burger at EBB must cost $25 to cover the labor costs. Meanwhile, Casino parking lots are chock full all hours of the day & night. So, yes, there’s money out there in people’s pockets that could be better spent and be circulated locally to help wages increase in a competitive labor market – if we could get our priorities straight. (Like not spending it on pot, booze, computer games and gambling, but I digress..) But mandating this through legislation is just another tax on the middle class and the poor, benefiting Bellevue, Shoreline and Tukwila at Seattle’s expense. I predict this will play out worse than Bertha, but I honestly and sincerely hope I’m wrong.

    Comment by pjmanley — 9:27 am May 2, 2014 #

  46. K bear,

    You’ve never taken an economics course have you? Capitalism is dependent upon a percentage of the population being underemployed and unemployed. The reason is so that companies always have a large and vibrant pool of employees to hire. Not saying it’s fair. Not saying it’s right. But it’s the economic system we have.

    The system it sounds like you’re embracing would lead to people earning a wage not based on skill, merit, or education.

    It has nothing to do with me or anyone else devaluing a person and their work. Society through the wage that that person can earn and the economy can sustain does that. And it is through years of someone acquiring knowledge either through education or experience working at that skill that society deems that persons work is worth more than someone else’s.

    And the society that you want to create where someone earns a high wage simply by showing up sounds great on paper but it will have many unintended consequences. Not the least of which is an unmotivated, entitled segment of society who don’t have to become educated or work several years for their hard work to pay off before they earn a higher wage.

    Comment by Not a fan — 9:37 am May 2, 2014 #

  47. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/costco-ceo-minimum-wage-craig-jelinek_n_2818060.html

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 10:06 am May 2, 2014 #

  48. Not A Fan, don’t forget about the multiplier effect. Extra income leads to more spending, which creates more income. Remember that when income is spent, these dollars become someone else’s income. Where a Tax break for the rich may cause those individuals to invest, increased income for individuals on the low end of the scale tend to spend…..consume. The size of the multiplier depends upon household’s marginal decisions to spend, called the marginal propensity to consume. It could be agued that if you give someone making 25k a year a raise to 30k that most of that will spent, not saved. If it is saved in a macro sense it becomes A withdrawal of income from the circular flow leading to a downward multiplier effect.

    Comment by mike in the delridge highlands — 12:35 pm May 2, 2014 #

  49. There two types of group think going on in this discussion of the minimum wage.
    One camp is using the worth of the individual and paying them so they can live working at a job that requires ZERO skill, drive, education…etc.
    The other camp is using the worth of WHAT they do to determine whether the wage they receive should be greater than minimum wage, or to raise the minimum wage.
    By placing the emphasis on the indvidual instead of the wrok, we appear to be compassionate and caring, giving them the pay to survive, BUT, by doing so we are doing them a disservice. We remove the motivation for them to seek a better job, to obtain a better education, to instill in them a desire to succeed.
    I do agree with a minimum wage, but not at the scale where it “rewards” complacency.
    There is a reason that entry-level jobs ONLY receive the minimum wage. These jobs require NO skill, NO education and very little drive. These are jobs designed for high school kids.

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 2:39 pm May 2, 2014 #

  50. We’ll have to shop in Burien to be able to afford to buy anything if this goes through. I don’t want to spend $3 for the smallest McDonalds hamburger or $60 for an oil change.

    Comment by Bradley — 2:43 pm May 2, 2014 #

  51. Bradley,

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics. It turns out that the 2012 median pay for this type of worker (nationally) was $17.60 per hour. These employees, by and large, will not be subject, then, to the automatic increases mandated by the minimum wage increase to $15. The input costs of the business you get your oil changed at, then, should not go up. We will still have to wait to see if what they charge for oil changes increases. Free market competition might take care of that?

    As the smallest McDonald’s hamburger is now $1.00, am I to take it that you are predicting a 200% price increase from a 60% increase in labor costs over 7 years (less health care – if any-) received by the McDonald’s worker? That increase in labor also assumes that there are no McDonald’s workers who make more than minimum wage currently – which I think would be an erroneous assumption.

    Fast food might be the area to see the largest increases in cost. If you think you are not paying for this now indirectly I would suggest that you are wrong. People who earn low wages qualify for various government social safety net programs – from foodstamps to subsidized housing. These means that essentially all of us as taxpayers are subsidizing these corporatations by making up the difference between cost of living for their employees and what the employees take home in wages.

    Comment by James — 3:57 pm May 2, 2014 #

  52. miws: excellent article, and an excellent articulation of the issue by one of our area’s most successful business moguls.
    .
    About three in four Americans support raising the minimum wage, according to a recent poll.
    .
    which tells me that most of this country has depressed wages, despite rising costs of pretty much everything.
    .
    thanks, and a happy may day to you, comrade.
    .
    ;)

    Comment by redblack — 6:36 pm May 2, 2014 #

  53. “If your sense of self-worth is dependent on de-valuing the work of others and keeping them in poverty, you have a serious moral deficiency.”
    .
    Nobody is de-valuing the work of others and keeping them in poverty. Those that are not working towards better paying jobs with career growth are doing that to themselves. That’s the beauty of living in the USA, nobody can prevent you from working towards a better opportunity, it’s up the individual to do make it happen. Nobody is going to hand over a career just because you feel you want it, you need to bust your rear and make it happen. Somehow, magically, millions have come here with nothing and done very well for themselves, all without $15/hr minimum wage pay. It’s amazing, it’s almost like they worked hard to make their own lives and lives of their families better. We have so many federal and state programs already in place to help boost people towards better lives. What is needed more than $15/hr minimum wage is better resources to help people understand the system and take advantage of the resources already being paid for by every tax paying person living here.

    Comment by Mike — 7:33 pm May 2, 2014 #

  54. Mike, YOU are de-valuing the work of minimum wage-earners. YOU are saying that their work isn’t worth being able to support themselves. Wouldn’t it be better if minimum wage earners didn’t NEED to apply for government assistance to make ends meet? So far I haven’t seen any comments against the minimum wage increase that didn’t include some form of contempt for minimum wage earners. We can do better.

    Comment by KBear — 8:34 pm May 2, 2014 #

  55. James,

    GREAT!!! Does that mean I count on your support to END the subsidies once the $15.00 per hour minimum wage passes?

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 8:42 pm May 2, 2014 #

  56. We can do better.

    So can they if they apply themselves and LEARN a trade that will pay them over the minimum wage!!!

    I would rather see an effort to provide education assistance to these workers so they can learn a trade/skill, instead of just paying them $15.00 for an unskilled job!!!

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 8:45 pm May 2, 2014 #

  57. Ex-West, all workers have skills. Even if they had very few skills before their first day on the job, I guarantee they had many more skills by the end of their first shift. Your calling them “unskilled” just because they earn minimum wage is unfair. By designating them “unskilled” you put them in a lower class and imply that they deserve fewer opportunities than anyone else.

    Comment by KBear — 9:52 pm May 2, 2014 #

  58. Its funny how the biggest point of this proposal is being missed, which affects EVERYONE if it stays as it is. They will include your health insurance as part of your compensation to reach the min wage, that includes EVERYONE no matter what you make. So the FED requires that all employers must provide insurance (eventually), so either you take it or you don’t, fine. But if you do take it you also will take a pay cut:
    Let’s say you were currently making $14 p/h. You get insurance through your employer (equal to a silver plan, per the FED), now, lets say that that “compensation” costs the employer $3 p/h to give to you. Well, if they include that as compensation, you will now have that $3 deducted from your wage as a “credit” they don’t have to pay you. SO, you will go from $14 to $15 eventually, but for 5 years, they will be able to not pay you in your check $3 an hour, making your effective take home pay $12 an hour (12+3=15). PLUS the cost of health insurance rises faster than inflation, so that p/h deduction will go up each year, more than likely faster than the 2.4% increase they give you. Oh and since insurance will be included in the compensation, does that mean it gets taxed? We will have to see….
    Wait you say, I’ll just not get employer insurance and go to the exchange, I’ll get a subsidy from the government and everything. Well you would, except that the FED won’t give you a subsidy if you CAN get insurance from your employer. Whether you chose not to is a different case.
    TL;DR: If you are looking at this issue from just a $ p/h amount you are mistaken, this insurance as compensation will screw EVERYONE.

    Comment by Kris — 7:51 am May 3, 2014 #

  59. I’m for paying what the persons skills and work is worth, not just giving people $15/hr to fart around on their phone posting on Facebook until somebody shows up to be seated at a restaurant. Want money, earn it, apply for better paying jobs, learn new skills BEFORE you expect $15 / hr and work hard to gain more skills to earn a lot more than $15 / hr. It’s pathetic that people expect $15 / hr and not even think they should work hard to better themselves and earn more that way. The only ones de-valuing anyone are the individuals that sit complacent in a minimum wage job sobbing that they don’t make more, all while not utilizing resources around them to better themselves and work towards better paying jobs.
    .
    There’s a big difference in an immigrant who comes here with nothing, can’t speak English, cleans toilets and then uses resources to work into better paying jobs or even opens their own business (which will now be forced to pay others $15 /hr) than some hipster kid who’s parents gave them every opportunity and they just slacked off and expect society to provide them everything for the rest of their lives.
    .
    I’d rather keep putting my tax dollars into programs to help the hard working immigrant with nothing than handing out higher wages to the kid that didn’t work for it.

    Comment by Mike — 7:58 am May 3, 2014 #

  60. entitled socialism.

    Comment by Rick — 8:10 am May 3, 2014 #

  61. Ex-West,

    Many of the federal and state programs are qualified for on the basis of family income. Workers who make more can phase themselves out of qualifying for benefits.

    Another thing missed in this comment section is the increase in relative value in having a job in Seattle. I have read a lot in these comments about people being unskilled and not wanting to work hard to improve their condition. Even if I stipulate that this is true, there will now be many people who live near but not in Seattle competing for the more remunerative Seattle job. If I live in Burien and work a minimum wage job, I would naturally want to compete for the same job at Seattle’s minimum wage, which will be higher. Lazy, unskilled socialist Seattle handout employees take notice! Your job just got a lot more coveted, so you will have to compete in the free market to keep your job. Should be a boon for Seattle employers who want to keep long term employees and build their skills.

    Comment by James — 9:52 am May 3, 2014 #

  62. K Bear, agree with you.
    TRex, raising the minimum wage so it finally keeps up with inflation and becomes a liveable wage is not a gov’t handout.
    Consequently, when they raise the minimum wage, they will likely no longer need the gov’t handout (food stamps, etc, that you mentioned) anymore. And that would be a good thing.
    Pjmanley–boohoo–so you won’t get to get all your little luxuries at the rate you do now. Oh well–the poor will be eating enough at least! They will be able to afford rent! Isn’t that what raising the minimum wage is supposed to do? The poor don’t get all the nice special goodies and extras you do! They are just trying to survive! Hello! Wake up call!
    Not a fan–”earning a wage “just by showing up” is an untrue and ignorant statement. People working those jobs work hard, probably more than many people do who make a lot more!

    Comment by Amy for ending poverty wages now — 6:39 pm May 3, 2014 #

  63. Jason, have to agree with you. That is exemplary you pay your employees so well. Also you are knowledgeable of the cost of living, especially locally. That is true the minimum wage needs to be raised, due to the high cost of living. It’s good that you can see people need to make more that are in these jobs, to better afford necessities like food and housing. There are whole families trying to make it on minimum wage or even one or two dollars over it.
    I don’t think $15 an hour is too high. Look at the high cost to live in this area! And I think all the people who work and currently make $15 an hour will get paid more. Why they would continue only making the minimum wage after it is raised is beyond me. I’m sure their incomes will rise.
    But saying someone shouldn’t make enough, like $15 hour because they “aren’t worth it” or their work isn’t “worth the pay” is bad. I mean, these workers are severely underpaid. It’s humane and in the category of human rights to pay them what they are worth (which is more that what they are paid now!). The minimum wage has been kept low for decades and it is way past time to raise it!
    These people would not be ” entitled” if they are paid enough to live on! That would only be the correct thing to do! And I think this would lift everyone’s boats. For decades the working poor have had to live very meagerly, stressfully, and in much hardship while the rich get richer.
    And contrary to popular belief, the work these people perform is of value and imagine if they stopped working. The companies would cease to make a profit and even come to a standstill. These workers perform a valuable service(s) that is vital and needed for the employer/businesses.
    Of course, people can get a better job. That is up to them. That is not a reasonable excuse to pay them poverty wages!! And this does not include how hard it is to get out of these jobs. College tuition costs are rising and already very high, and they would likely need to get into debt. Some of these workers have families and/or are working full-time, often overtime, just to survive, and having them go to college too may be difficult. They wouldn’t have very much time to spend with their family, and it would be expensive, in terms of time and money. No, we are not trying to make these workers rich here. It may actually give them money for tuition so they could better themselves, should they choose!

    Comment by Amy for ending poverty wages now — 7:14 pm May 3, 2014 #

  64. Mike–the “kid” who didn’t work for it? I have seen retail, fast food, service workers and some are in their 50s, even 60s (and even elderly)! Also, the worker DOES work for it! Maybe harder than you do, or other people do, and the work they do should be paid enough on which to live!

    Comment by Amy for ending poverty wages now — 7:33 pm May 3, 2014 #

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