All posts by Ginger Jentzen

Final Council Vote: Close the Corporate Loopholes!

On Monday June 2nd, at 1 pm, rally at 4th and James with the many activists and organizations that have fought hard for a strong $15/hr minimum wage. The rally will precede the Council’s final meeting and vote. It is crucial to support this victory and fight to close the loopholes on this historic day.  We need to see this for what it is: a historic victory for workers.

The proposal isn’t perfect.  15 Now and 15 For Seattle coalition have signed onto an important letter below.  Join us Monday to tell the council to close the corporate loopholes: the sub-minimum wages, against any delays, and no phase-in for big business franchises.  

Dear Mayor Murray and Seattle City Councilmembers,

Thank you for your unanimous vote last Thursday to move forward with a $15 minimum wage in Seattle. When enacted by you as the full Council, this will provide an additional $3 billion in increased income over the next ten years in the pockets of more than 100,000 low-wage workers, and from them into the coffers of local businesses. This is an historic occasion.

However, as leaders in the movement for a $15 minimum wage with representatives on the Income Inequality Advisory Committee (IIAC), we are writing to express our strong opposition to the deviation from the IIAC agreement in two provisions of the version passed by the Select Committee on Minimum Wage and Income Inequality on Thursday, May 29th.

The IIAC agreement represented a compromise between representatives of business and labor. Yet since that compromise was reached, amendments to the proposal have been disproportionately in favor of business and would undermine the minimum wage law.

First, Seattle’s low-wage workers are disappointed that they have to wait an additional three months for their raise, due to the delay of implementation of this ordinance to April 1, 2015. A delay from January to April is unnecessary and will be an additional hardship to the 100,000 workers who have struggled for too long to survive on poverty wages.

Second, the inclusion of a sub-minimum training wage in this proposal is well beyond the IIAC agreement. We — along with the majority of the people of Seattle — stand firmly against paying disabled workers, young workers, or immigrant workers lower than minimum wages.

We are also alarmed by discussion of moving large and wealthy non-profits into the delayed, “small” business category. This would mean thousands of Seattle workers would needlessly have to wait several more years before achieving $15. Workers in human services are some of the most self-sacrificing members of our community and face high levels of job stress. They deserve a living wage as soon as possible.

In fact, a number of local human services non-profits have stated their opposition to such a delay, as well, as it would create financial incentives for their workers to move to for-profit employers.

Finally, we also write to express our great concern regarding consideration of any possible amendment defining franchises of huge corporations, like McDonalds, as small businesses. Such an amendment, if passed, would greatly expand the number of workers in the longest phase-in periods and disproportionately affect fast food workers. We find this proposal completely unacceptable and a blow to the fast food workers who led the way in making $15 a reality.

Monday’s City Council meeting will have the final say on these issues. We strongly urge that the City Council pass a minimum wage ordinance that in no way weakens the IIAC agreement. Let’s make sure that Monday is a day of celebration for Seattle, as we take the lead nationally on the burning issue of income inequality.

Respectfully,

15 for Seattle

15 Now