ATU and Seattle’s 36th and 43rd district Democrats join growing and formidable coalition of 15 Now supporters
April 7, 2014 – Seattle – 15 Now, the grassroots organization advocating for a strong $15 per hour, and shaking-up Seattle’s politics, continues to assemble a growing and formidable coalition of endorsements and supporters.
Yesterday Washington State Federation of State Employees (WFSE) Local 1488, which represents classified workers at the University of Washington, delivered a $20,000 donation to 15 Now. This followed news over the weekend that the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International officially endorsed 15 Now. ATU represents over 190,000 transit and allied workers, the largest union representing this sector in North America. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 713 of Hayward, CA also recently voted to endorse and donate to 15 Now. These unions understand that a win in Seattle will embolden workers fighting for a living wage across the country.
15 Now has received another crucial union endorsement, this time from the Amalgamated Transit Union International. ATU represents over 190,000 transit and allied workers, the largest union representing this sector in the US and Canada. Funding to transit agencies has been under the axe for years, often translating into brutal cuts to wages, hours, benefits, and break times for bus drivers and other transit workers. With their endorsement, ATU stands in solidarity with 15 Now to continue the fight for a strong $15/hr minimum wage!
So we’ve been led to believe by the corporate media and CEO Howard Schultz, mainly because they provide health care benefits to all their part-time employees. On the surface this does look pretty impressive since all non-supervisory workers, nearly 100,000 in the U.S., are considered part-time. But once you delve past the marketing into the facts, you find something quite different:
Donate today to end poverty wages. We can win but we need your help. Donate today to win a $15/hour minimum wage.
From our recent article in The Stranger:
The reality is that total compensation would, after business is done exercising its powers of deduction, result in no real wage increase for many workers. It could turn $15/hr into a cruel joke. Instead of copying the weakest parts of other cities’ minimum wage laws, we should reject total compensation and tip credit which undermine workers’ wages.
Check out our article in The Stranger:
Total compensation attempts to do nothing less than redefine the meaning of an hourly minimum wage. Employers could be allowed to deduct tips, health care, meals on the job, pensions, paid sick leave, bus passes, vacation time, and more from the minimum wage, which is not what happens now. If we allow total compensation into the new minimum wage, many workers who make less than $15 an hour could see no increase in their take-home pay at all.
By Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Women make up a majority of tipped workers in Washington State and the Seattle region
– Women make up 67% of all workers in tipped occupations in Washington State, compared to 46% of the employed population
– Women make up 60% of all tipped workers in Seattle, and 70% of all tipped workers who live in poverty.
– Allowing tips to count towards a wage increase, would effectively exclude tipped workers from many of the benefits of an increase to the minimum wage, and would only make the gender pay gap worse.
From The Stranger: Mayor Murray Tells Activist He’s Been Against Tip Credits “Since 1997,” But Co-Sponsored a State Tip Credit Bill in 2001
Spear started her question to Murray by mentioning that he had supported legislation instating a lower wage for tipped workers, a position 15 Now and many activists are strongly against, while he was a state legislator in Olympia. “So I ask you where you stand on tip credit,” she asked Murray. “Have you changed your position, or are you going to be bringing tip credit to Seattle?”
MURRAY: So first of all, what year did I support that?
MURRAY: Actually, you’re wrong. It was in the 1990s.
SPEAR: Well, have you changed your position now?
MURRAY: No, it was in 1996 … I have been clear since 1997 that I do not support a tip credit.
Except there’s one problem with Murray’s defense: He co-sponsored a tip-credit bill in 2001. You can see it right here, House Bill 1973, which directed the department of labor and industries to “establish an adjusted minimum tipped wage rate that is equal to seventy-five percent of the adjusted minimum wage… but no less than six dollars and seventy-two cents per hour.”