Higher minimum wage? Proposed city-charter amendment filed

A member of the group 15 Now, supporters of a higher minimum wage, filed a proposed city-charter amendment today. It would go to voters if they gather at least 30,000 valid signatures. Here’s how they summarize the proposal:

On Jan 1, 2015, the minimum wage for workers at big businesses will be raised to $15/hour and raised each year to adjust for inflation.

For small- and medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations, the minimum wage will be phased in over three years starting with $11/hour on Jan 1, 2015.

Small- and medium-sized businesses are defined as having fewer than 250 Full Time Equivalents, the standard set by Seattle’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.

No training wages, no lower wages for tipped workers, and no “total compensation.”

Increased worker protections against wage and tip theft.

The Seattle Times (WSB partner) reports that supporters aren’t planning to start gathering signatures until they see what the mayor’s income-inequality committee comes up with.

84 Replies to "Higher minimum wage? Proposed city-charter amendment filed"

  • Tim Preston April 14, 2014 (4:29 pm)

    Explain one good reason why tips should not be considered income?

    By increasing the wages employers pay by over 60% and not allowing for tip credit, the result will be a price increase or a service charge leading to a lot less tipping which leads to lower wages for tipped employees. How is this in the best interest of tipped employees?

    Do you enjoy relatively affordable restaurants and bars? Do you enjoy the local/independent/family owned options as well as mega corporations that span the country? Do you like full service when you wine and or dine out?

    If you answered yes to any of these, you should vote no or the converse will be the reality in Seattle.

  • JJ April 14, 2014 (5:22 pm)

    Politicians dont understand business, of any size. I think we should give them 15 bucks an hour plus automatic gratuity for everything they get right. Maybe then they could focus on the limited things we ask of them and not taking money from bad entities and unions to seal re election. Second thought 15 might be too much, term limit time.

  • Amy April 14, 2014 (5:37 pm)

    I’m all for raising the minimum wage. It’s about time workers were paid enough. Seattle is a very expensive place in which to live, and workers should now be paid adequately to better afford living in this city. Also, we can do better than SeaTac!!

  • Tim Preston April 14, 2014 (6:07 pm)

    Raising the minimum wage across the board is irresponsible and irrational. What happens to all the entry level employees that start at the current minimum wage? Do you think that employers are going to be excited about hiring someone with zero work history and experience at $15/hour simply because that is the minimum? What about all the service industry workers forced OUT of jobs due to higher paid wages? They are going to be gobbling up the the “bounty” of amazing $15/hour jobs that the city will be so graciously providing. This issue needs to be thought through. It is not as simple as ALL MIN WAGE WORKERS NOW GET MORE MONEY AND PROTECTION. It flat out doesn’t make sense to raise across the board. Cost of living is high huh? Do you think the cost of living will stay the same if businesses have to pay much higher wages? NO.

  • Ray April 14, 2014 (7:29 pm)

    These idiots do not understand basic economics.

    Let us just start with one part – every year raising it with inflation. That makes the assumption that consumption increases lock-step with inflation. It does not; under no model on the planet. You are then ripping off the earnings of the small business people in the city. And THAT is unfair.

  • Jay April 14, 2014 (7:34 pm)

    I’ve been following the $15 wage suggestion in the state of WA. I can feel the momentum building and suspect it will eventually pass and then get challenged and then revised and then pass again.

    In the mean time, employers better figure out a way to compensate employees that have worked hard to earn a $15hr wage. As for tipped employees; $15 plus the typical 20% tip will push many workers into a higher tax bracket. This is good for the Feds!

  • WSEA April 14, 2014 (8:00 pm)

    I’m all for raising the minimum wage but I have not heard a good approach on what to do with those making $11 to $15. Do they get the same raise level amount? Do they stay at their current level or $15 even though they worked up their current level? What will this do for increasing prices or taxes for public workers. a phased approached sounds safer to work out all these detail and see the impact.

  • Jon April 14, 2014 (8:07 pm)

    I would be suprised if “the unions” actually support this. It would make more sense if the unions were trying to unionize employees. Then they could collect dues. In return employees would also have protections, great benefits, a retirement plan, ect, ect. Of course this would drive prices even higher.
    -what’s everybody’s issue with the unions?There are some issues yes. But I’d say historically they’ve done some good, and provide many people with “living wage” jobs and a bit more.

  • bob April 14, 2014 (8:22 pm)

    15$ an hour is too much. Serious from 9.32 to $15
    I’m going to just eat at home then and never go to a restaurant for a 7$ beer and 15$ burger.

  • Diane April 14, 2014 (8:23 pm)

    yes yes yes yes yes
    agree with Amy

  • JN April 14, 2014 (8:35 pm)

    In theory a $15 minimum wage sounds great, however it will reduce the number of jobs available to those it is supposed to help, i.e. unskilled workers. I used to be all for this measure, but after taking an economics course in college this quarter it will do more harm than good.

  • heylady April 14, 2014 (8:37 pm)

    Can anyone educate me on the $15 an hour rate? How did the supporters of the increase arrive at that number?

  • JimClark April 14, 2014 (8:53 pm)

    The SEIU is a big supporter and has actually paid people to show up for their demonstrations

  • Amy April 14, 2014 (8:59 pm)

    Good article (for JN and everyone): http://www.therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10553

  • Noelle April 14, 2014 (9:24 pm)

    If minimum wage is $15/hour how much will rent go up in the city? How much will a loaf of bread cost or a cheese burger at Dick’s? You can’t have such a huge wage increase (percentage wise) and not have some ripple effect. Everything will cost more.

  • sna April 14, 2014 (9:33 pm)

    This isn’t a statement for or against, but detractors of the min wage are obsessing about $20 burgers. Probably more impactful, I’m taking an educated guess that childcare costs will go up about $300 a month if the min wage goes to $15/hr.

  • Alki Beach Comber April 14, 2014 (9:35 pm)

    I own a business and if I have this substantial increase in costs, there would be no option but to pass it on to the customer. It’s just inflation. Or better yet move out of city limits?? This one size fits all mandate mentality will choke business in Seattle.

  • BJB April 14, 2014 (9:51 pm)

    Australia may be a valid argument for upping minimum wage but they also don’t tip their restaurant staff. The US may just follow suit if minimum wage is increased. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g255055-s606/Australia:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html

    I can’t imagine servers would be too happy with that in the US.

  • Gene April 14, 2014 (10:01 pm)

    Does anyone in their right mind think that if the minimum wage is raised to $ 15 an hour that 1- the cost would not be passed along to consumers- 2 –businesses might very well have to try & make do with fewer employees- resulting in loss of jobs?
    Just how many teenagers- looking for summer work would be hired if they had to be paid $15 an hour?
    I’ll be the grinch that tips way less( than the 20% I tip now) if my server is getting $15 an hour.

  • dsa April 14, 2014 (10:17 pm)

    Read and heed what Alki Beach Comber said. Why would a small business stay in Seattle?

  • Jon April 15, 2014 (12:31 am)

    Where are you getting that info? Seiu makes no mention of it on anywhere on their website. Imo, it wouldn’t make sense for a union to support anything other than unionization. But maybe I’m missing something ???

  • cj April 15, 2014 (1:19 am)

    Rent in this city is already more than $15 per hour can afford.

  • DarkHawke April 15, 2014 (2:31 am)

    This is something the unions wholeheartedly support because union wages are based on the prevailing minimum wage. That’s why we have minimum wage laws in this country. Not that union members make the minimum wage, but they can point to it and say, “Well, our people HAVE to make more than minimum wage!” That’s another hidden cost of this nonsense.

  • Joe Szilagyi April 15, 2014 (6:28 am)

    Now that the $15/now people have filed a city ballot measure to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour, I was thinking more about this. One of the most common complaints and cautions I hear is that businesses will leave the city if this passes. It’s a fiction and myth that all businesses CAN move. Will a small business that does not have a geographical dependence on a dense urban customer base move? 


    Maybe. Let’s say a light manufacturing or light non-commercial retail business. If they operate today in West Seattle or Ballard or wherever but could trivially operate in, say, Renton? Or Kent? AND without being in jeopardy from losing veteran staff who may actually be the lifeblood of the business? Remember, some businesses are only as strong as their staff. In those cases — sure, they can bail, if no one minds the much longer commute perhaps relative to where they were and other external costs from such a move. 


    Anything bigger than that probably already pays close to $15/hour already if not more. Remember, too, that the bigger a business is the more difficult it may be for them to move due to reliance on other factors, and that they’re also able to more easily absorb cost changes like this in many cases.


    But for businesses that rely upon instant and immediate access to a dense core of foot traffic or population, which is the bulk of the businesses that will be affected by the $15/now movement? Where will the small business near Pike Place Market, the Alaska Junction, or any other dense area in the city find comparable action outside of Seattle? We’re a captive market and the biggest one for 800 miles.


    Just something to think about specific to the claim that “small businesses will flee” Seattle. Where is the small restaurant on Pike and Pine going to even possibly come close to the size of a customer base they enjoy where they are today, in a city ‘nearby’? Downtown Portland? Salt Lake City? Everything else aside, don’t believe that one line of argument for a moment.

  • Doug Smith April 15, 2014 (6:33 am)

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all these people demanding $15 per hour put all that energy into getting a promotion or more education to make a higher wage…
    Like all of those before them had to do…
    Some jobs don’t warrant fifteen bones an hour…period.

  • Brian Connolly April 15, 2014 (7:29 am)

    I honestly do not understand all of this griping about “B-b-but if waiters are making $15/hr, I’ll just stop tipping so much! That’ll teach ’em!”
    In my mind, that’s a good thing. Tipping culture needs to die. Do you honestly enjoy the fact that you have to subsidize someone’s wage based on your subjective perception of how well or poorly they did their job? For those of you who don’t work in the service industry, how would you feel if your paycheck was substantially affected by how someone felt about the quality of your work?
    Our country’s love affair with tipping is mind bogglingly confusing.

  • Jon April 15, 2014 (7:47 am)

    -sorry but you are mistaken. Prevailing wage is NOT minimum wage nor is it based upon it. Union wages are based on collective barganing NOT minimum wages. Prevailing wage is nearly the opposite of what you are saying. Try wiki.
    – I’m sorry but really? Does anyone really realize what unions have done for the blue collar work force of this country? The 40 hour work week is a good one. It’s frustrating to see how much misinformation is out there, and how many people are “anti-union” because of if.
    -again, if anything the SEIU would want workers to join the union. There’s less incentive for people to join if they already make a higher base.
    -BTW, I don’t support the wage hike at all. I like local places!

  • JoAnne April 15, 2014 (8:00 am)

    Gee, if only there were some examples from human history where government has adopted wealth-redistribution schemes.
    If only we had an idea of what happens when you take money away money from people who earned it and give it to people who didn’t.
    Oh wait…

  • CMP April 15, 2014 (8:19 am)

    If someone is making $15/hour then my days of tipping at restaurants are over…actually, I might not even be inclined to dine out much anymore since prices will most likely go up. I’ve never been a fan of tipping and I certainly hope the practice would go away if minimum wage increased so much. And yeah, I’ve clearly never worked in the restaurant industry. Good point made about child care costs earlier in the comments. I did that as a summer job in college and I earned my $10.50/hour, it’s hard work watching someone else’s children all day.

  • Tim Preston April 15, 2014 (9:48 am)

    Businesses will not flee, they will close. First thing will be to raise prices to recover the loss. There will be higher prices and less staff leading to lower quality experiences. This will lead to less patronage, ultimately forcing the business to…

    To the people claiming you wouldn’t tip based on a $15/hr wage. Is that a serious statement? You are suggesting that you do not like having to compensate someone based on your perception of the service yet you are deciding that your particular service person makes enough money now. Why do you feel like that judgement is cool but the other is not?

    Like it or not, it will lower a large part of our local economy. I am not sure why people don’t realize that.

  • Scott April 15, 2014 (10:01 am)

    If $15/hour wages do pass I will not be tipping anyone anymore. Plus if I was making $15/hour before I would be wanting a raise also.

  • DBurns April 15, 2014 (10:08 am)

    Sorry if I’ve missed this but does this include employees under 18 years old? (Or those still attending high school)
    Seems like this could really affect the employment of high schoolers. Personally, I really love hiring kids for their first job experience and although they start at minimum wage they quickly advance. But do teenagers really need to make a “living wage”? I’d like to know more.

  • VanillaGorilla April 15, 2014 (10:41 am)


    im all for higher wages but in all honesty this is what most of you minimum wage earners will be replaced by if this moves forward^^^^^^
    they already have these in restaurants taking orders now in seattle along with automated chefs cooking your food…plus look at all the home depots and grocery store etc… that have automated checkout lines that everyone loves so much?? with like 2 employees running the show!!
    you will know longer have a job and the economy is gonna go right back in the tank!! And I’m not just knocking on min wage employees The sad truth is this is also happening to higher wage paying places such as Amazon and Boeing too!!

  • kgdlg April 15, 2014 (11:25 am)

    This potential policy change is one of the most fascinating I have ever witnessed and it will be truly eye-opening to see how it impacts life in Seattle. Clearly, it is better for low-wage workers, tipping impact issues aside (I honestly don’t think it will have THAT much impact on overall tips people make). They will have more money in their pockets to spend, hopefully in Seattle. However, I think the comments about childcare costs and costs of food out above are interesting. I wonder if Seattle will continue to become more and more like San Francisco? By this I mean, a VERY expensive City with very few middle class families actually living in it. I believe the point here is to raise the quality of life up for low wage workers by passing through the costs (when possible) to consumers. And in concept, this is right and just. We should all be paying the true cost of providing living wage jobs. But I do worry that more and more families will continue to leave the City as a result, especially when there are cheaper options right next door, with better school systems. For me, I think a State or National wage hike would make more sense from a policy standpoint. For people on fixed incomes (i.e. the non working poor such as seniors and disabled) Seattle may also become that much harder to afford since their SSI or SSDI won’t be pegged to this cost increase. Just my two cents.

  • sna April 15, 2014 (2:29 pm)

    kgdlg –
    A logical outcome from a $15/hr min wage in Seattle is that people with poor education, blemishes on their job history, or criminal convictions will have a much harder time being hired in the city.
    Some jobs will go away, but the remaining ones will see much stronger competition from potential employees. The end result may very well be a situation where the lower class is pushed out of the city and replaced by underemployed college grads.

    This is sort of uncharted territory — you’ll have a rather contained geography with a much higher min wage than surrounding areas. San Jose is pointed to as an example, but their min wage is only $2 higher than the state’s.

  • kgdlg April 15, 2014 (3:03 pm)

    thanks sna, interesting concepts. i think we are in unchartered and unprecedented territory here, so it will be very interesting to see the impacts of this. i am legitimately fascinated to see which policy wonk(s) will be right and wrong about the predictions being made. will small businesses close or move out of seattle? will prices go up substantially? will kids have a harder time getting hired? who knows!

  • Diane April 15, 2014 (3:52 pm)

    What If the Minimum Wage Were $15 an Hour?


  • clh April 15, 2014 (5:02 pm)

    kgdlg… Good point about people on fixed incomes. I recently retired early to better care for my disabled son… not rich, but fortunate enough to be able to do it… or so I thought. My calculations certainly didn’t account for a rapid artificial rise in the the cost of living in Seattle. Some seniors, and others on fixed incomes, will no doubt be forced out of Seattle if the Socialists get their way.

    Also, before I retired I paid my son’s caregivers $15/hr… he is totally disabled, and requires full time care. Now all the sudden that’s a minimum wage job? Most likely not… I’d probably pay about $20.

    I hope this makes it to the ballot, and if it does, I hope that common sense prevails.

  • WsBoB April 15, 2014 (5:40 pm)

    This is a bad idea not thought all the way thru. I see layoffs and increased prices. This is going to hurt more than it helps. If you want a better paying job, go to school, knock on doors, start a business,,,

  • redblack April 15, 2014 (6:14 pm)

    jo anne: and those examples are…
    what, exactly?
    please be direct, and say what you mean.
    are you implying that USSR – or china, or nazi germany, or some islamic dictatorship – redistributed wealth from the fruits of a free market economy?
    in almost 10,000 years, the world has never seen an economy of the size, scale, and scope of ours; nor has it ever seen such a discrepancy in a society’s wealth distributed across its populace.
    the only economies that came even close were aristocratic monarchies. and, despite the diatribe, this is still a free market democracy.
    from some of the comments here, i think that some of us long for a return to fiefdoms, slave wages, and untouchable classes.
    be careful what you wish for.

  • Amy April 15, 2014 (6:36 pm)

    Not everyone who makes minimum wage (and would make $15 after the wage raise) is a high school student. There are many working class families who would be helped by raising minimum wage.

    Saying one would have to pay more for things, businesses would close, or there would be less jobs, is going too far. Look at Australia. It did well by raising its minimum wage, had no recession, and burgers cost only a little more, not by much there.

    Where is the social outcry to pay workers enough on which to live? Using these reasons not to raise the wage is not right. Paying workers enough, not so they are rich, just a fair amount, is a human rights issue. Doesn’t someone who works 40 hours a week, whatever the type of labor is, deserve to make enough for food and shelter and the basics of living?? Also, for decades, the wages for these workers has been too low. With inflation, the wage of that worker in the 60s was $16/hr.

    It’s time to raise the minimum wage. It’s PAST time!

  • Diane April 15, 2014 (7:11 pm)

    go Amy; agree

  • Josh April 15, 2014 (9:58 pm)

    I get paid whatever I want by working as hard and as much as possible. By working more, I get more experience at my job and therefor get better at it. Therefor I earn more per hour and on’t care about a minimum wage. I also pay what I think something is worth, or I don’t buy it. If you rely on a government to tell you what to do, you got problems. Do what you want. Seriously start doing the things you want to do for the rate your skill level deserves. Otherwise stop doing it and don’t complain.

  • Dave H April 15, 2014 (9:59 pm)

    I’m against it. Read this take from Tom Douglas


  • The Hepcat April 15, 2014 (11:24 pm)

    OK, here’s the concept I presented last quarter at school to try to explain the economic impact of the proposed increase. Forget about the $17 Big Macs for a minute. Lets say I own a business making widgets. I employ 4 people to make my widgets at say, $5 per hour (for the sake of simplicity)because after I pay all my production and distribution costs, and taxes, my business model allows me to pay 4 people $5 per hour to assemble my widgets. My employees are happy to be paid a fair rate for what they do, and all is well in Widgetopia. Then, overnight, Government says I have to increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour. Well, my costs didn’t go down, my production and delivery costs didn’t go down, and you can be damn sure that my taxes didn’t go down. And even though I love my 4 employees, they are not delivering $10 worth of labor. So, something’s gotta give. I have to pay 2 employees $10 per hour, and fire two good people. Now I can’t keep up with my existing demand for widgets, and can’t afford to hire more. Sure, those two workers at $10 per hour are happy to “spend to improve the economy”, but what about the two who won’t? What about the people who aren’t going to get a job at all? How does that help anyone? Face it folks, we live in a free market system that can, when left alone, create great jobs and security for its citizens. And working for a reasonable minimum wage can be the stepping stone for a great career. It NEVER was meant to be a “living wage.” Employers don’t owe you $15 per hour, even if you think you’re worth it. Remember, working for minimum wage sure beats not having a job.

  • redblack April 16, 2014 (4:45 am)

    hepcat: if your costs rise, and demand for wages rise, and widget demand increases, how do you compensate? (hint: it has to do with your prices, not your costs.)
    as a small business owner, can you ever control external costs? furthermore, should you, and you alone, determine what wages (file under: costs) are fair compensation for working in your widget mine?
    by the way, in your example, your wage costs doubled. reread the proposed legislation.

    and no matter what you believe the minimum wage was intended for, when unemployment rises, even the most menial jobs are filled by someone who’s trying to make ends meet – not merely teenagers looking to finance their cell phone usage.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident April 16, 2014 (9:02 am)

    So if someone “flipping a burger” and asking “would you like fries with that” is worth $15.00 per hour, what is a Corrections Officer (CO) who places his life on the line EVERYDAY watching over hardened criminals worth?
    Because I can tell you that the starting salary for a CO is $15.31 an hour.
    This issue that people are confusing here isn’t what a person is worth, people are worth MANY, MANY times more than the work that do, but they tie in what they do as the same thing as what they are worth. Those are TWO very different things.

  • work smarter not harder April 16, 2014 (10:04 am)

    There’s a reason we don’t see Olive Gardens and corporate fast food chains all over West Seattle. A lot of SMALL businesses are the ones going to be affected the harshest.(may Close) NOT MCDonalds. Small businesses aren’t the enemy yet they’re the ones on the front line. Say goodbye to your local coffee shop and say Hello to more Starbucks.
    This is not a State wide decision. West Seattle is only 5 miles away from the city line. Some businesses are ONLY 5 feet away from the city limit. How are they supposed to compete fairly with the company across the street? while having to raise prices to keep their doors open. There has to be a better solution.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident April 16, 2014 (11:14 am)

    I disagree that McDonalds and other “National” fast food chains won’t be affected. Remember that the VAST majority of these are NOT corprate stores, but are locally owned and operated franchises.
    The franchise “owner” still MUST pay for the right to own that franchise and it is doubtful that the Corprations will lower the fee that is paid just because one city decides to mandate a $15.00 minimum wage. Further cutting the slim profit margins that the “owners” make.
    These owners (and not just “fast food” establishments) will be forced to do one of a few things:
    1. Reduce the number of employees
    2. Move to automate their services so that they can remain profitable with fewer workers
    3. Relocate outside the $15.00 min wage zone
    4. Close
    In all of the choices the end result is fewer employees and greater unemployment which will cost ALL of those us working and/or owning businesses more in increased taxes to replenish the unemployment insurance, reduced choices for us to patronize and greater distances to travel to get those services.

  • work smarter than harder April 16, 2014 (11:53 am)

    I agree that McDonalds will be affected. I’m talking about the mom and pop shops that will be hit HARDER and faster. A franchise business can order in bulk and cheap, something most small businesses cant. I think McDonads will respond by replacing their staff with machines if they haven’t already. Living local is what Seattle has preached for SOOOO long and to hear some of these comments just makes me sad. What restaurant will be able to buy produce from West Seattle produce or the farmers market.
    If someone came to you and said you had to pay 62% more in rent because you live in the Seattle city limits, what would you do? MOVE
    Whats to stop these small businesses from moving or closing because they cant afford to move.

  • redblack April 16, 2014 (12:56 pm)

    am i the only one who actually read this?
    For small- and medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations, the minimum wage will be phased in over three years starting lwith $11/hour on Jan 1, 2015.
    it’s right there in the article above.
    now, does that include the local domino’s franchisee? i don’t know. i didn’t write it.
    but there is a growing contingency that wants to pay more for goods and/or services that are derived locally – as opposed to the “save money, live better” crowd.

  • redblack April 16, 2014 (1:04 pm)

    These owners (and not just “fast food” establishments) will be forced to do one of a few things:
    1. Reduce the number of employees
    2. Move to automate their services so that they can remain profitable with fewer workers
    3. Relocate outside the $15.00 min wage zone
    4. Close

    5. raise prices.
    give me pizzeria 22 over domino’s any day of the week and twice on sunday. i’ll gladly pay more.

  • Seatac April 16, 2014 (1:11 pm)

    Unions absolutely support raising minimum wage. This isn’t difficult to understand. Stop listening to the news reported to you and research things for yourselves. If Seattle is trying to follow SeaTac’s lead then look no further than the text of the legislation, “may be waived in a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.”

    In other words, the $15 minimum wage can be waived if the employees are unionized. This exemption pushes employers to encourage unionization. In Seattle, such an exemption will give many small businesses the options of unionizing their labor or go out of business if they can’t afford $15. As for the idea that small businesses can just raise prices because they have a “captive” audience….really? For goods, a minimum wage increase will only strengthen the existing competitive advantages already enjoyed by eCommerce. For everything else, people will shop outside city limits. This assumes that the lack of parking doesn’t kill local small businesses first. Source: http://www.ci.seatac.wa.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=8233

  • Diane April 16, 2014 (3:01 pm)

    @redblack “am i the only one who actually read this?”
    ha ha ha ha ha
    exactly; I think this every day, when people comment on stories, totally ignoring content of the story

  • Diane April 16, 2014 (3:04 pm)

    much better story (than the one from multi-millionaire Tom Douglas) and much more humanity, is THIS
    Who’s Afraid of $15?
    Theaters Large and Small Say They’re Ready to Raise the Minimum Wage—Even if They Don’t Have To

  • Ex-Westwood Resident April 16, 2014 (3:43 pm)

    give me pizzeria 22 over domino’s any day of the week and twice on sunday. i’ll gladly pay more.
    Me too, but I’ll bet you a Lg. double pepperoni that Domino’s employs MORE people than Pizzareia 22.

    Theaters Large and Small Say They’re Ready to Raise the Minimum Wage—Even if They Don’t Have To

    GREAT!!! Let the owners decide if they can raise the wages for the employees. The issue I have is GOV’T MANDATING IT

    For small- and medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations, the minimum wage will be phased in over three years starting lwith $11/hour on Jan 1, 2015.

    Have they determined what the definition is of “small/medium” sized business is? Are they going to use the ACA definition?
    If so, there won’t be many businesses that will have to raise wages, as MOST if not all will get to the 49 employee to meet the small/medium business definition.

  • Amy April 16, 2014 (6:18 pm)

    Ex-Westwood R.: government comes in to raise the minimum wage because it’s needed and since employers haven’t raised it.
    For Hepcat: Minimum wage needs to be a living wage. What else is it to do? People work to support themselves. The current minimum wage is only a fraction of what is needed for them to live on. Raising the wage to $10 would be too high? Actually that’s only slightly less than the current minimum wage.
    Raise it now!!
    Paying workers $5 an hour is not a fair rate. That is not even current minimum wage! That amount is ripping them off. As so is $10/hr.
    The fact is, people working full-time and getting poverty wages, still living in poverty even though working; is a–what can I say, is very bad; is unacceptable, substandard, etc, etc. This should NOT be the case. End working poverty today!!

  • redblack April 16, 2014 (7:52 pm)

    again, from the very article we’re debating at the top of this page:
    Small- and medium-sized businesses are defined as having fewer than 250 Full Time Equivalents, the standard set by Seattle’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.
    and from you:
    GREAT!!! Let the owners decide if they can raise the wages for the employees. The issue I have is GOV’T MANDATING IT
    and the issue i have is with massive retailers wrecking local economies and offering less-than-fair wages and zero benefits, thus pushing employees to either work two or more jobs – if they can find them – or seek assistance from taxpayers through medicaid or “welfare.”

  • Amy April 16, 2014 (8:01 pm)

    For Dave H.: This article is about the restaurant industry, who already make excellent tips. McDonalds and fast food workers all could benefit from an increase in minimum wage and the writer of the article agrees with this. Plus, more than that, many other retail, and service, etc. workers would be helped from raising it.

  • Amy April 16, 2014 (8:13 pm)

    Yes, redblack, at issue especially are the larger employers, who make record profit off the backs of the minimum wage workers, and who could easily afford to pay these workers more. (Oh, maybe the CEOs will make a million less per year or something rather than 4 million–oh, well!) At least the employees will not be so poor after raising the minimum wage! So I agree!

  • Work smarter not harder April 17, 2014 (9:58 am)

    For those who think you’re the only ones to have read the above PROPOSED article is just ignorant. Not everyone is going to agree with you, especially me. My vote if I get one will allow a total compensation credit. Like most other states.

  • Diane April 17, 2014 (11:07 am)

    this is a city initiative, not state; although, one of our brand new state reps proposed a state min wage this past session, and she will be bring it back next session; the collective “we” who realize it’s inhumane to expect a majority or our workers to struggle to survive on poverty wages, we will not give up; we will keep at this until min wage is raised to a level where everyone can afford to live where they work, in our city

  • work smarter not harder April 17, 2014 (11:54 am)

    I’m fully aware this is a city initiative, especially since West Seattle is so close to the edge of the city limit. I’m not saying people don’t deserve a living wage. I’m saying total compensation needs to be considered. Tips are wages! Small businesses make little profit with lots of risks. averaging 1-5% per dollar and servers/ bartenders make 15-20% per dollar. Why would anyone except big corporations want to open in the “Seattle City limits” Bring on the blooming onion.
    Again why are businesses the only ones being targeted to fix the inequality? Last I saw TAXES take 20% of my paycheck.
    Just because “we” don’t agree with you doesn’t mean we’re inhumane. I would like say more realistic

  • Brad April 17, 2014 (2:37 pm)

    Seattle: future home of the $9.75 Big Mac, $11 Happy Meal, and $7.49 Egg McMuffin.

  • Amy April 17, 2014 (5:37 pm)

    The fact is Seattle is a pricey area and wages need to be raised. That’s why they are trying to raise the minimum wage. It’s already a pricey place to abide–how can that be changed? Raising it would affect not just restaurant workers. There are many other people it would help. Maybe people will tip less? Plus, if they raise it–when they do–other employers besides that industry will be paying their employees more too. Why do employers keep trying to get out of paying their employees enough to live on??…it is beyond me. It’s totally wrong.
    West Seattle IS in the city limit.
    Regarding the taxes, people have to pay for social programs for the workers, who often take advantage of these programs since they are so poor! It may LOWER taxes to have the employers actually pay what they should be paying to their workers, as then they won’t need to use the gov’t programs for help.
    Let’s think beyond here to other issues and people. Just speaking on behalf of the restaurant industry in understandable, but that doesn’t affect most of us here in Seattle, and it’s a little biased.
    Brad, look at Australia. It only is $.70 (70 cents more) more for a Big Mac there, after they raised their minimum wage to $16.37/hr, where it is currently.
    Diane–I’m with you and all for you! Let’s stand together!

  • why not total compensation? April 17, 2014 (8:18 pm)

    I would like to understand the reasoning behind why some feel total compensation shouldn’t be considered.

    For instance, if I make $12 an hour, but I also receive medical, dental, vision (+ possible other benefits), shouldn’t that be part of my total compensation? Do you feel that insurance will still be provided by those who are so awesome to provide it when it isn’t a requirement when their payroll increases? Not many will be able to afford to.

    Another scenario- I am a tipped employee, making $9.32 an hour in minimum wage, but averaging anywhere from $20-$40 an hour based on my night. Shouldn’t my tips be considered as part of my total compensation? If I am paid $15 an hour, less people will tip the normal 18-20%, if at all, and my income will decrease. There have been surveys and studies done to prove this. Also my employer may elect to call me off a shift due to the increased cost of labor and therefore I make $0 that day.

    A three year phase in plan for small businesses does nothing to protect the employees they currently have. Why would someone work for $11 an hour (as proposed by 2015) for a small business when they can do the same job, maybe even one with less expectations/responsibility, for the large corporations at $4 more an hour? Why wouldn’t you go there? This will give the large corporations their pick of employees.

    Most smart small businesses support and live local. If the local businesses they support have to increase their costs to pay their employees and also cover the increase in costs they are absorbing from where they purchase products from, most of them will look outside of city limits for the same product, at a cheaper price.

    If you are going to raise minimum wage, you need to do it state wide, with a total compensation consideration. I believe every single person deserves to be paid a living wage, but more thought needs to be put into the fine details before the doors close to our local produce stands, boutique stores and owner operated restaurants & bars (all of which are abundant in West Seattle and part of our culture).

    Small businesses are founded out of a dream. Whether the idea came from a few notes scribbled on a cocktail napkin or was crafted over years of time, the risk involved in going out and putting it all on the line is huge. How are we making sure we don’t crush these dreams, therefore discouraging future entrepreneurs from fulfilling their dreams by opening up their business in our fair city?

  • redblack April 17, 2014 (8:56 pm)

    why not total comp: are you worth so much less than a lawyer? a doctor? a plumber? a carpenter? a CPA? most of them have high wages/salaries AND good benefits.
    so who determines what you’re worth? the “free market?” the government? commentaries on a blog?
    regarding small businesses:
    they’re largely built from an entrepeneur’s desire to do less work for more compensation, which is largely delusional. anyone who has run a small business knows that he/she would likely have been more successful working for someone else…
    for the highest wage he/she could possibly muster.

  • joel April 17, 2014 (9:13 pm)

    if you are a server in a busy restaurant you are already making more than $15 per hour. so when people stop tipping instead of making $40 per hour in cash and not paying taxes on it you’ll be stuck with $15 an hour and paying taxes………if inflation runs 4% a year that is a .60 cents increase per hour the first year. then future years are compounded so you are now taking inflation times $15.60 per hour. by the second year the hourly rate will be over $16 per hour minimum wage. I doubt the numbers have really been run accurately to reflect the true cost of this mess…..

  • Joeb April 17, 2014 (10:09 pm)

    There are a lot of very smart economist and financial advisors in this world. I have seen nothing about a truly independent and unbiased study by some of these experts. Why is it that people so sure about the positive impact on business from a 60% hourly wage increase don’t back it up with a study that focuses on the specific scenario being proposed for Seattle? It seems like such a simple way to convince people that your claims are based on facts, and not some comparison to a much smaller wage increase in some other city with completely different dynamics. It seems like such a simple way to handle this, and yet one does it. Why is that?

  • Civik April 18, 2014 (6:53 am)

    I think that some people need to calm a little about this on both sides. First, the $15 an hour was decided on because the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation over the past 20 years. This is still not where it should be, but it’s closer than we are now.

    Second, this rate increase is a terrible way to get there. It screws with the entire pay structure of larger corporations who haven’t been abusing the minimum wage and base pay increases off training and seniority fairly. There are some major corporations which purposely underpay their employees and pawn the additional costs onto the federal government *cough* walmart *cough* and fast food chains, but then we have companies like costco and bartells who try to do right by their employees.

    The way this initiative would happen can bring the bad actors in-line, but it will hurt those who are doing the right thing. As much as some need the instant gratification of an immediate increase, trying to do so that quickly can harm business and the economy.

  • sam-c April 18, 2014 (11:44 am)

    Amy: I don’t think Hepcat is actually trying to pay anyone $5 an hour to make widgets. it was a made up story to try and explain a concept.

  • tuesday April 18, 2014 (3:13 pm)

    This is one of those terrible ideas that sounds good on the surface but will ultimately hurt poor, unskilled workers. How about we stop with bad ideas that sound good and actually pursue sensible policies that actually achieve noted objectives. Seattle is not just a randomly expensive place to live. It’s expensive to live because the government… state, local and federal… make it so hard for small businesses to employ people and thrive. Higher wages mean higher prices. If higher wages solve everything, why stop at $15? Why not $1000 an hour!? That certainly would solve everyone’s money problems… or would it? Raise the stakes and you see on a bit larger scale the impact this will have on prices. So how about focusing on real ways to help poor people. This is ridiculous. Target will likely easily be able to absorb a hit like this and keep their business. A new business? Probably not. So once again, Seattle talks “local” but simultaneously stomps it into the ground in every way possible. So frustrating to watch.

  • Amy April 18, 2014 (6:54 pm)

    I actually think some employers would pay their employees $5/hr. if they could. They tend to be greedy and try to lowball the workers’ wages as much as they can. Employers often (a lot of them) seem to be so focused on making a profit. Where is the sense of personal responsibility that the employer has for its employees?
    Prior to the 70s, and in the 60s, a high school graduate could support his wife and family easily. I so think businesses, before putting profit before all else, used to carry a sense of duty towards their employees and want to take care of them, which for most of that includes paying their workers adequately.
    How will it “hurt” poor and unskilled workers to raise the minimum wage?
    Seattle is also expensive, for one thing, due to its housing prices. Not just higher taxes here. That’s why the minimum wage should be raised. Why is it ridiculous to pay poor workers more so they don’t have such a constant struggle to survive? They work hard to make a living and ought to have enough to live on. For them, it’s a constant battle to stay afloat. They are making their employer’s profit! Why shouldn’t they be paid enough?
    A poverty minimum wage should be outlawed. This is the true ludicrousness!!

  • work smarter not Harder April 18, 2014 (8:15 pm)

    I’m not sure how many business owners or employers you actually know… Your generalization is ludicrous. You’ve obviously never worked for a small business/company.

  • joel April 18, 2014 (9:37 pm)

    I believe the mayor and council are going to act well before this initiative would be voted on. The mayor is clearly for a higher wage and obviously Sawant ran her entire campaign on it. Having Murray and Sawant so far to one extreme has now allowed some other closet lefties of the council to come out swinging and show their true colors…..the $15 per hour to start with….how many for profit companies are in Seattle that employ over 250 people?

  • joel April 18, 2014 (11:05 pm)

    will every coffee shop, dry cleaners, mini mart and donut stand still have their tip jars out? with $15 an hour min wage what are the guys standing in front of home depot going to be wanting these days?

  • Amy April 19, 2014 (6:07 pm)

    Yes, my husband works for a small company. And attacking people who don’t agree with you is not correct. That’s what some people do who don’t have a correct argument and who don’t know what to say.

  • Tuesday April 20, 2014 (12:36 am)

    It hurts poor, unskilled workers in three ways:

    1. Unskilled/ uneducated workers will have less of a chance to obtain a job for $15/ hr because at they will be competing with higher educated/ more skilled people at these wages. Remember, the person that now makes $15/ per hr doesn’t make $20 if the minimum wage is raised.

    2. If the cost of labor increases, employers will not be able to afford to pay for as many hours/ employees.

    3. Raising the price of labor raises the price of the goods and services that labor produces. That’s a fact. Costs are passed on to the consumer. The price of cheese is the same for both wealthy, poor and everyone in-between. If that price goes up, it hurts poor people more because they are less able to absorb such an increase.

    It’s pretty much basic economics.

  • Amy April 20, 2014 (7:21 pm)

    But, raising the minimum wage would help lift over a million (and probably much more than that, counting the people who make one or two dollars over the minimum wage) people out of poverty (who are working full-time).
    I have read that by raising the cost of goods slightly (by a few cents more per item) and also the savings of less employee turnover, this may help with the cost of the minimum wage raise. Further, employee morale may improve, and I have read (in the Wall Street Journal) that sales have actually risen in certain locations where they have raised the (minimum) wage for workers. One statistic said the employees’ turnover was 5 workers a year after the wage raise compared to 15 workers before the raise.
    Responding to point #1 (for Tuesday), I would think wages would raise, if not immediately probably soon, for other employees who already make $15/hr. For point #3, the cost of goods is already high (especially for the poor!)! And the poor (at least the working poor) will better be able to afford said goods with the minimum wage increase!
    Also, for worksmarternotharder, and small businesses, note that with the passing of the new law/amendment, the raising of minimum wage, for small and medium sized businesses, will be in three parts, over 3 years. That that will help small and medium sized businesses.

  • Tuesday April 21, 2014 (10:25 am)

    Correlation does not equal causation. One, I would be curious to know what the amount of minimum wage increase was where the sales increased. Was the increase in sales caused by the increase in minimum wage? That seems highly unlikely. Call me a skeptic.

    As for wages being raised for people making $15/ hr right now? Why would they? Employers are going to be absorbing the much higher cost of lower skilled workers. Where is the money going to magically appear? Prices will go up, naturally people will be able to afford less.

    What percent of minimum wage earners are the only source of income for a family? What percentage are part time? What percentage are teens living at home? What percentage of that million (are you talking Federal min wage here, because in Seattle it will be nowhere near that.) will go to kids with little to no experience (that need experience!), second income earners, etc. I think a staggeringly low percent will go to people that supporters of this increase think it will.

    I think the hopes and dreams behind this plan are well placed, but the outcome will be the opposite, sadly.

    ** I’d like to see the politicians supporting this policy change promise to pay all of their campaign volunteers $15/hr. That would certainly be unlikely now, wouldn’t it?!

  • Amy April 22, 2014 (7:16 pm)

    Some retail sectors who raised minimum wage have said it caused better customer service (and improved employee morale, as I already mentioned earlier). Some places that serve food have found the larger paychecks reduced employee turnover (which saves the employer a good amount of money. A study in 2010 by the Review of Economics and Statistics founds cities with higher pay didn’t have job losses among the food service workers (fast food workers). Nearly half of all minimum wage wage-earners work in food service. One of the study’s authors, University of California at Berkeley economist Michael Reich, said the fast food restaurants typically avoid layoffs because modest price increases and lower employee turnover offset the higher labor costs from wage gains. Some economists, in addition, say that areas with higher living costs can absorb increases in minimum wage more easily. This information is from Wall Street Journal.

  • Work smarter not harder April 23, 2014 (7:32 am)

    what happens if there is some sort of collapse because of this? You know who is the likeliest to survive? Big business! Oh the irony of ironies.

  • Amy April 24, 2014 (1:00 am)

    Doomsday, the sky is falling, please.

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