City Council to naysayers: $15 will strengthen Seattle

Council members and supporters hail the passage of a higher minimum wage but say more must be done to address income inequality.
Happy days are here again: A Molly Moon's ice cream truck parked outside of city hall as City Council approved a $15 per hour minimum wage measure. Founder Molly Moon-Neitzel has been a major proponent of the wage.

Happy days are here again: A Molly Moon's ice cream truck parked outside of city hall as City Council approved a $15 per hour minimum wage measure. Founder Molly Moon-Neitzel has been a major proponent of the wage. Ana Sofia Knauf

Kshama Sawant talks with members of the media about the $15 per hour minimum wage ordinance.

Kshama Sawant talks with members of the media about the $15 per hour minimum wage ordinance. Ana Sofia Knauf

Seattle City Council members unanimously passed a historic $15 an hour minimum wage bill this afternoon, which makes Seattle the first city in the nation to approve such a dramatic and sweeping wage increase.

After weeks of hurried, intense and sometimes hotly criticized work on the issue, council members declared themselves happy with the final result.

“To those who have said the sky will fall if we pass this legislation, let me assure you: The sun will rise tomorrow,” said Councilmember Nick Licata, referring to warnings that the measure would hurt business in Seattle. “A city is world class when all classes live in the same world.”

The measure was expected to pass a full council vote after members of a council committee on income inequality approved a draft bill to raise the pay floor last Friday.

However, the passage of the landmark measure was not without hitches.

The failure of four amendments to a plan approved by a council committee last week raised a chorus of boos and chants of “Shame on you!” from the crowd dominated by the strongest supporters of a $15 law. The failed amendments included removing tip credits for companies, eliminating lower training wages for teenagers and people with disabilities, and moving up the start date of the wage increase to January 1, 2015. Councilmember Kshama Sawant, the most visibile proponent of the $15 wage movement and a leader of 15 Now, said the amendments were rejected because of pressure for “corporate loopholes.”

Despite those votes, the ultimate passage of the bill was met with a standing ovation from the crowd.

In a press conference after the council meeting, Sawant said the vote was still an undeniable victory. In the next 10 years, she said, the ordinance will mean that “$3 billion will be transferred back to workers. One hundred thousand workers will be out of poverty.”

“Today’s message is clear: if we organize as workers with a socialist strategy, we can tackle the chasm of income inequality and social injustice,” she also said. “Fifteen in Seattle is just the beginning. We have an entire world to win.”

Philip Locker, a representative of activist group 15 Now, promised that it is not a matter of if, but when other $15 an hour movements surge up across the country. “This is not a result of some harmonious agreement between business and labor. This was won by workers,” said Locker. “Councilmember Sawant forced the establishment to accept this with gritted teeth.”

For Larkin Potts, an IHop server who currently earns the minimum wage, $15 an hour means not worrying about limiting trips to the grocery store, he said. Instead, the father of two can spend more time with his kids. “It’s time to celebrate,” said Potts. “The kids get ice cream, the grown folks get something ... different.”

Wages will rise at different rates for larger and smaller businesses. The "minimum compensation" figures in Schedule C show the amount that employers with fewer than 500 employees must pay their workers including tips and health care benefits. To be counted toward total compensation, tips and health care benefits need to appear on an employee's paycheck. Source: Seattle Mayor's Office.

Monday’s action marks the first of many steps city officials and activist groups still want to take to combat income inequality in Seattle.

Once Mayor Ed Murray signs the measure in the next week, wages will be set to jump in phases from the $9.32 state minimum on April 1, 2015, the date chosen by the council. There are still several schedules by which businesses will be required to adhere: Large businesses with more than 500 employees will have until 2017 to increase their workers’ wages to $15 while small businesses will have until 2021 to increase wages to meet the $15 per hour mark.


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Comments:

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 6 a.m. Inappropriate

If the council was serious about their support, they would have imposed it immediately. They are hoping for a higher authority to come in and slap them down so they can play the victim.

Cameron

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 7:03 a.m. Inappropriate

Don't you think it's reasonable to give 6 months for businesses to plan for the first raise?

pragmatic

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 7:04 a.m. Inappropriate

I mean 9 months.

pragmatic

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 8:58 a.m. Inappropriate

Why? If your going to be unreasonable in the way you govern, why not have the consequences manifest themselves during your time time office? No more of this implement the policy in the "out years". If you believe in something and you believe it is the right thing to do, then do it. You might be wrong, but that has never stopped Ed or the Council before.

Cameron

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 6:30 a.m. Inappropriate

This is great, I'll no longer need to even consider high schoolers or dropouts from Seattle to ice my cupcakes; at $15 an hour I can get college kids from Shoreline, Bellevue, and Bothell. Hell, I bet fine, young, better educated kids would even commute from Tacoma for this kind of money.

Simon

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 7:06 a.m. Inappropriate

This is going to be an interesting experiment, to say the least.

talisker

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 7:56 a.m. Inappropriate

I can't wait to move to Eastern Washington for school in two years. Seattle is not the town I once knew after 31 years. I am gladly moving.

June

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 8:12 a.m. Inappropriate

A $15 an hour wage, taken by itself, is a good thing. The uncontrolled, unaddressed issues, such as higher rents, make higher wages without other protections questionable. What happens if rents go up, along with expected rise in food costs? The very people who are supposed to be helped will be pushed back down. What about insurance rates? Will people making $15 per hour have to begin paying more for their insurance? Will that eat up the money that was intended to give them more spending opportunities? What happens to the wages of skilled workers, in relationship to the baseline? Without a solid plan for the consequences, this is truly an experiment. If it creates a mess for the working poor, will the $15 Now folks be willing to sit down, acknowledge the problems and find solutions to the issues? Or will they have disappeared?

gmgd

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 8:25 a.m. Inappropriate

You are right, in the extreme case if everyone's wage went up by the same percent, that the effect of raising the minimum wage would result in status quo.

However, it is unlikely that will happen. People getting near 15/hr will probably get small raises. Those already making $60K/year or more will probably see no change to their salaries.

So it will mostly end up as a redistribution of wealth from the haves to the have nots. The effect will be a little diluted since costs to the minimum wage workers will go up. However that increase will be much smaller than the increase in their wages.

pragmatic

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 10:41 a.m. Inappropriate

The most interesting thing about this experiment is going to be see what unintended consequences come down the line.

Suddenly these workers may find themselves ineligible for Earned Income Tax Credits. Their marginal tax rate will jump from 10% to 15%. Other tax credits or deductions may be reduced because of increased income. They may find that they are ineligible for housing assistance, and the amount of their subsidy under Obamacare is likely to decrease. They may find that they and their kids are no longer eligible for Medicaid, and that they have to buy their own insurance. They are going to find themselves They won't be eligible for discounts for Seattle City Light any more. They'll find themselves suddenly responsible for more of the cost of their living expenses.

Like I said, this is an interesting experiment. If we can reduce the amount of money that we have to pay in subsidies and if the workers are spending more on goods and services then we would have more tax revenue available for transportation and education.

talisker

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 8:31 p.m. Inappropriate

I think you are on to something. That raise to $15 an hour will not cover all of the "new" costs that they may have to cover and could very well put them in a worse situation than before. The cost of living in Seattle is very high and will only continue to climb, I think that needed to be addressed in conjunction with looking at raising the minimum wage. We already had one of the highest minimum wages and people still couldn't live off of it so what makes Council think that will change?

mjbg

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 8:45 a.m. Inappropriate

In this age of creating value out of the air, printing ever-more billions, and paying for increasing amounts of money borrowed by incrasing the printing press output, this makes sense.
The only question to logically ask, is why not make it $30 an hour? But of course that will be the demand next year.
Anyone try to understand the word "sustainability" out there? Especially given its ubiquitous usage everywhere.

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 9:26 a.m. Inappropriate

Great! No need for college!

BlueLight

Posted Thu, Jun 5, 10:23 p.m. Inappropriate

Yeah you’re absolutely right; knowledgeable and skilled college educated employees are going to be quitting Microsoft, Amazon, F5, Moss Adams, Group Health, and Boeing in droves just to get one of those sweet minimum wage jobs.

ColinS

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 9:34 a.m. Inappropriate

I'm not sure what providing a minimum wage of $15 hr has to do with sustainability - which is an oft used metaphor for some nirvana, which is simply unattainable by modern society - unless we wipe out half the world's population and impose the per capita income of Ghana on everyone.

Funny. No one complains about the top 1% outrageous gains over the past couple decades, but give the guy/gal at the bottom rung a boost - well, not even a boost considering it just brings the wage up to what it was in the 1970s post inflation - and watch the pundits yell.

Batten down the hatches - this is un-American, chaos will rule, Godzilla will return, it's downright unsustainable.

Good grief.

Treker

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 10:40 a.m. Inappropriate

As a small business owner I'm OK with this. There is enough of a phase in period for us to adjust. An immediate $15hr law would have meant price increases and layoffs. Hopefully we'll be able to make changes gradually without driving away customers or laying off employees.
My prediction will be that the losers in all this will be the least skilled workers who will be replaced by higher skill workers. And teens and the elderly working part time jobs. Because the bottom line is that if a worker cannot provide $15hr worth of labor, then they will be replaced by someone who can, or their job will be outsourced or replaced by automation. No legislation from the City will change that basic economic principle. I just hope the City has thought about how they will fund the increased demand for services from the long term unemployed and the unemployable. They won't simply disappear because the new minimum wage is higher.

ep

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 10:55 a.m. Inappropriate

I've been thinking this, too. You're going to have some very skilled applicants, and you'll have a line of people waiting for a job if you terminate an employee for poor performance or dependability issues.

It's a good opportunity for the manager at a chain location in the city to get the best workers from the region at their stores, which would make their job of managing the staff a lot easier. If an outstanding McDonalds employee at 145th & Bothell Way wants to transfer to the Northgate location then the manager at Northgate would be a fool not to take him or her. And one of the low performers at the Northgate location will be going to the Shoreline store, or going home.

It's a little ironic that the minimum wage increase was promoted by the Socialist, but the workers will find themselves with fewer government subsidies and in more in thrall to competitive market forces than they currently are.

talisker

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 2:05 p.m. Inappropriate

"My prediction will be that the losers in all this will be the least skilled workers who will be replaced by higher skill workers... Because the bottom line is that if a worker cannot provide $15hr worth of labor, then they will be replaced by someone who can, or their job will be outsourced or replaced by automation."


Which will be followed by a significant increase in the Welfare rolls, which in turn will be followed by a campaign to "Make Welfare a Livable Wage."

dbreneman

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 2:22 p.m. Inappropriate

My guess is... since this is Seattle... We'll have a bunch of bright and shiney new taxes to handle that. :(

rawdawg

Posted Sun, Jun 8, 10:56 a.m. Inappropriate

ep: "My prediction will be that the losers in all this will be the least skilled workers who will be replaced by higher skill workers. And teens and the elderly working part time jobs. Because the bottom line is that if a worker cannot provide $15hr worth of labor, then they will be replaced by someone who can, or their job will be outsourced or replaced by automation."

With workers not worth hiring at the prevailing wage, perhaps we (public and private) need to invest more in education and training. Some never will, of course. Ideally, the minimum wage needs to be at a level at which subsidies for minimum-wage workers is not significantly more than what they'd get from simply collecting welfare (SSI, etc.). The cost of employing someone in "prison industry" is many times that, which is why some degree of work-subsidy for low-wage workers can still make economic sense.

Posted Sun, Jun 8, 8:25 p.m. Inappropriate

Minimum wage was NEVER to be the prevailing wage. It was a non-skilled, starter wage.

When subsidies exist in such ample supply as to make a minimum wage job be passed over in favor of collecting welfare, SSI, etc, then we have a problem of laziness, if the person collecting the benefits is actually able to hold a job.

I have no issue with people who need help. But given the vast numbers of those we're supporting, laziness is a definite part of the problem.

I also agree with those who feel that $15 per hour wages will mean the lowest skilled people will be the worst affected: they will really be left out of the working equation. Seattle will see an influx of more qualified people from nearby areas coming in to fill those lovely $15 per hour jobs. Employers will be thrilled, they will have a much better pool of applicants to choose from. Teenagers? They better skip seeking work in Seattle, and just go to Shoreline, Renton, the Eastside ... as those areas will have jobs for them, but not in Seattle. No way in hades will teens be working much in Seattle when the minimum wage kicks in.

I hope every Seattle elected is thinking about the unintended consequences of their ignorant votes.

Time for Econ 101 to be a requirement of public office.

Posted Mon, Jun 9, 10:56 a.m. Inappropriate

Minimum to near-minimum wage is the prevailing wage for the fast food industry. I have no problem with a lower minimum-wage for trainees and teens, as long as employers don't exploit it to underpay non-trainee adult workers. A low minimum wage hardly incentivizes people to get off welfare - to the contrary, it forces many to stay on it, even if working full-time.

The fact is that minimum wage work is heavily subsidized by federal benefits. Without heavy welfare subsidies to their workers, a Walmart wouldn't exist. As it is now, Costco is more profitable, despite paying a much higher wage.

Low-skilled workers need to be educated or trained so they can be more productive. While I have no problem with some degree of subsidies to full-time minimum wage workers, having whole industries leeching off the government is only driving up welfare costs.

One question is whether a higher minimum wage will cause a company like Dick's, which currently pays a starting wage of $12/hr and provides generous health care and educational benefits, to pull back on the benefits they provide. That is why I am in favor of a two-tier minimum wage - $12/hr for companies which provide at least $3/hr in benefits, and $15/hr for those that don't.

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 11:04 a.m. Inappropriate

We'll see. Maybe in a couple years there will be some data instead of speculation. My opinion - this will be a blip hardly noticed.

Treker

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 2:28 p.m. Inappropriate

Hardly noticed by whom? As someone that is sitting in the $50K range currently, I guarantee I will notice when the price of goods soar, but my wages don't increase proportionately... We all have bills to pay, and none of this is going to help anyone that has already busted their a$$ to get out of minimum/low wage jobs. The kicker is that I was a good little doobie and waited till I could afford kids to have them... This sends the ENTIRELY WRONG MESSAGE, and rewards poor choices. We need to be fostering responsibilty and hard work with our decisions in this city, not handing out awards for being a screw up. $12 would have gotten the job done just fine. $15 is an insult to those that have busted our a$$es to get out of those roles.

rawdawg

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 2:56 p.m. Inappropriate

I don't know if the poor choices are going to be rewarded. I think it's more likely that the people who are in that boat will find themselves increasingly unable to find a job because they are in competition with people who have made fewer bad choices than them in the marketplace.

Those with more education, more skills, more initiative, and a clean record are going to take the jobs that today's minimally skilled or qualified applicant can get. Those who made really poor choices will find themselves completely unemployable in Seattle.

talisker

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 3:15 p.m. Inappropriate

By anyone really. The few empirical studies done on the subject have come out as a wash. Interesting isn't it - that by bringing up the minimum wage to what is was, post inflation, back in the '70s we're now facing a catastrophe when back then it didn't seem to matter so much, eh?

So, somehow, raising the minimum wage to catch up with 30 years of inflation and wage erosion is immoral? Yea, you're right. I just don't get it.

Treker

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 9:08 a.m. Inappropriate

It's the timing, the catch-up itself which is potentially disruptive.
Jumping from $9 to $15 is a HUGE jump and if done very rapidly will change the nature of the $15/hr job pool i.e. you will higher-skilled people and the more skilled will force out the lesser skilled.
So yes, you get $15/hr min wage but the people in min wage will be different.

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 12:49 p.m. Inappropriate

The cost of living today is roughly two to three times what it was in the 1970s, yet the minimum wage in the 1970s was not somewhere around $7.00 an hour. In 1976, it was $2.30. Are you claiming that the cost of living has gone up to 5 to 6 times what it was in 1976, or are you disputing that the minimum wage was $2.30?

dbreneman

Posted Thu, Jun 5, 9:42 p.m. Inappropriate

Why wont your wagees increase proportionately? If as you claim, you bust your a$$ why dont you bust your a$$ at organizing, and unionizing your profession? Simply because you are too lazy, meek, or otherwise to fight for a better wage is a failure on your part not anyone elses. You good sir send the ENTIRELY WRONG MESSAGE.

ColinS

Posted Sun, Jun 8, 10:35 a.m. Inappropriate

rawdawg: "We all have bills to pay, and none of this is going to help anyone that has already busted their a$$ to get out of minimum/low wage jobs."

Nah, doesn't work that way. A low minimum wage pulls down wages above it. Raise the minimum wage and the next tier of wages will go up with it, although not necessarily as much. Probably won't impact mid-tier wages and above.

The argument is that $15/hr in Seattle is equivalent to $12/hr elsewhere, considering housing/commuting costs.

Posted Sun, Jun 8, 8:25 p.m. Inappropriate

Fiasco much noticed.

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 11:39 a.m. Inappropriate

Welcome to the new Seattle Caste System...those that are worth and can earn $15.00 an hour and those that never will.

Cameron

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 2:19 p.m. Inappropriate

So, now a minimum wage sits at $31,200 for a full time employee... What happens then with the wages for recent college grads? Do you think companies will start them off at $40K to offset the difference? ABSOLUTELY NOT! So, now a college grad will start at the same level as a McD's fry cook... sweet. This sends a TERRIBLE message to those that plan to go the extra mile, and get a degree. It devalues education, and is a slap in the face to those that have already gone to school and have enormous schoool debts to pay. White collar jobs will not increase pay to 160% of current levels. So, with inflation and price increases to housing/health care and loss of benefits noted in prior posts you've now completely fuqed those that have recently moved into the $40-50K range. I'm sorry, but YOU SHOULD NOT BE RAISING A FAMILY ON MINIMUM WAGE JOBS!!! If you want more money, develop a skill and get a better job! It's not my problem that you've made poor life choices, but it WILL be my problem when this whole thing blows up in our faces. The best part is those about to hit the 'median' income or 'middle class'are now sucked down and in worse shape than they were after busting their a$$es for the last 10+ years. THIS SUCKS! We are a capatilist society. You get paid for the work you do. If you want to EARN more... DO MORE!

rawdawg

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 2:28 p.m. Inappropriate

I think we need legislation IN ALL CAPITAL letters to solve this CRISIS!

Treker

Posted Sun, Jun 8, 8:26 p.m. Inappropriate

I think we need smarter elected people who could care less about caps in comments.

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 8:59 a.m. Inappropriate

I have 2 college age kids.
One of em is currently making $17 an hour as an intern.
He has a friend, 23, who just graduated from college and got a job at Amazon-
and guess what-

YOU ARE RIGHT-

they didnt start him off at $40k.

nope, Amazon signed him at $90k a year, with a $30k signing bonus.

The average Amazon salary in Seattle is $125k.
Average.

you are living in 1972.

Ries

Posted Thu, Jun 5, 9:51 p.m. Inappropriate

This is how a democracy works, this is how voting works. If you want to live in a society that doesnt VOTES... MOVE TO NORTH KOREA!

ColinS

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 7:16 p.m. Inappropriate

Yup, the same people who gave us the Tunnel are now going to give us $15/hr.
At a human level I am all for $15.
But everyone should be prepared for the unexpected since that is certainly to happen.

But I think that one obvious projection is higher rents.
More buying power = competition for scare goods.

Key strategy for middle class HOME-OWNERS? Limit growth...maybe an annual cap on building new dwelling units...new minimum dwelling size 3000 SF...let's downzone to restrict housing supply to raise house prices.

Hey, We wanted $15/hr, we are getting it.

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 7:55 p.m. Inappropriate

A virtual desert I tell you. By next year it will all look like Detroit!!!

Jesus. Get a grip already.

Treker

Posted Thu, Jun 5, 10:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Yeah, and Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands are all doing terrible with their higher minimum wages, while the Dominican Republic, Ghana, and Kenya are thriving economically with their lower minimum wages.

ColinS

Posted Tue, Jun 3, 8:58 p.m. Inappropriate

I believe we'll see something along the lines of how the Seahawks compete for a starting spot on the roster. Employers have nothing to lose by having all their worker bees fill out a job application for their current spot and at the same time, advertise those same spots as being open and encouraging outsiders to apply. An automatic wage increase without adding value to the business isn't smart. What is smart is for the owner to maximize the skill set of her worker bees, and one way to do that is through competition. There will be winners and losers in this, and some of the losers are those folks who have pushed for the wage increase. So be it.

The buzz in my small burg in Western Washington, is the local WalMart worker bees feel, with their experience in retail and warehouse work, they have a legitimate chance to get a job in Seattle. Does anybody blame them for wanting to get out of the clutches of the Waltons? I don't.

Djinn

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 9:21 a.m. Inappropriate

Are these "worker bees" commuting from Seattle (or first ring suburbs) to your "small burg"? If not, why would they want to commute into Seattle to make a higher hourly wage. Just do the math; it makes little sense.

louploup

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 9:37 a.m. Inappropriate

I am an employer, have been since 1982.
You couldnt be farther from the truth.
I always pay more than minimum wage, and the idea of wasting a huge amount of time hassling my current employees, losing some and having to spend months and thousands of dollars training new ones- never happen.
In my skilled shop, it takes me 2 years to fully train a tech school grad.
Even a fast food worker takes time, and money, to train.
"competition", in terms of hiring all new, untrained workers, costs me, it doesnt save me.

The less turnover you have in employees, the less it costs you.
Most studies indicate that the lower rate of turnover will more than compensate employers for the higher wage.

Ries

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 11:27 a.m. Inappropriate

Does anyone know where the number "15" came from?

Why the goal of fifteen dollars an hour.

As opposed to twelve, as opposed to eighteen.

Or fifty bucks an hour for that matter.

What was the origin of fifteen dollars an hour as a cure for som many of our ills?

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 12:53 p.m. Inappropriate

$15/hour is a happy, magic, perfect number, just like 55MPH. Do not question the government's happy, magic, perfect numbers or you will be an enemy of the state.

dbreneman

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 6:10 p.m. Inappropriate

Some increase is fine and there needs to be catchup.
No problem with that.
But the irony is that the impact of the SPEED of the catchup is going to force lower-skilled people ($9/hr) out in favor of higher-skilled ($15/hr).
Just an irony which few want to acknowledge.

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 3:10 p.m. Inappropriate

I think fifteen, the number, is just a handy one for slogans.

This increase in the minimum, in Seattle, actually starts at $11, and will hit $18, and, most likely, keep going up from there.
Fifteen is a number that is just being used for shorthand- every employer will hit fifteen at a different time, years from now, on their way to eighteen.

Ries

Posted Wed, Jun 4, 1:58 p.m. Inappropriate

It's a good question - so I'll ignore the 8th grade rants.

I'd look forward to a more informed view - but here's what I gathered. It appears that it wasn't "a government happy number" but has grown out of a grass roots movement across the country and then picked up by the locals, and then by our new Councilwoman. Data from the National Employment Law Project shows that the minimum wage - in current dollars, reached it's height back in 1968 - 46 years ago. Using this as a benchmark if you just calculate inflation into it the minimum wage (federal) would be $10.55 today.

Another way it has been looked at is to take the 1968 minimum wage and peg it to the average per capital income growth - that is per capita real personal income excluding current transfer receipts- such as Social Security and other government programs and adjust this for inflation - which has grown 100.6% since 1968. So this translates to $21.68 hr.

Some have suggested splitting the difference as a compromise between just the inflation adjusted figure and the personal income growth figure. I don't know if this has been the thought process for $15 now, but the average of the two is in that ball park.

The proposal was a compromise by the committee set up by the major - which include business representation - so again, not the "happy number" thing. But, likely nothing was going to happen without the grassroots push. That's my interpretation of what I've read anyway.

I didn't see much of this analysis on the Seattle.gov site or the Now $15 site. Maybe someone has more insight.

Lily32

Posted Fri, Jun 6, 10:47 a.m. Inappropriate

If it's a grassroots movement, then the "eighth grade rants" may well be accurate.

Meaning, the number was picked out of thin air.

It could just as easily have been fifty dollars an hour, or two hundred. If there was some study behind the number, I'd like to see it.

Has no one even asked?

Maybe this is industry's response to Seattle's minimum wage law:

http://momentummachines.com/gallery/
http://momentummachines.com/#product

Posted Thu, Jun 5, 11:53 a.m. Inappropriate

If paying some people as little as possible is good for the rest of us, then why not bring back debt-bondage? Just think how cheap your burger and fries would be if the workers were wearing ankle chains.

Posted Fri, Jun 6, 10:49 a.m. Inappropriate

Or do this.
http://momentummachines.com/#product

Posted Fri, Jun 6, 6:06 p.m. Inappropriate

Well, if automation eliminated all labor, fast food businesses would all go bankrupt, since all of their customers would be unemployed.

Posted Sat, Jun 7, 9:24 a.m. Inappropriate

Fully automated fast food places already exist- and they are pretty unimpressive, both in terms of prices and profits.
It turns out that to buy those machines, burgers need to be MORE expensive than if humans made them- the current Washington DC place charges more for a robot made burger than Dicks does, paying ten bucks and more an hour in Seattle. They start at seven bucks, and go up to twelve.
And people dont really like not dealing with a human, either- its not some raging success.
http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/youngandhungry/2013/11/22/now-open-high-tech-bolt-burgers/

It can be done- totally automated fast food- but it is neither cheaper, better tasting, nor more popular.

It certainly wont replace human cooks, even at fifteen bucks an hour, they are cheaper, and can cook better too.

Ries

Posted Sat, Jun 7, 11:44 a.m. Inappropriate

I'm being facetious, of course. Cutting labor costs will not increase employment if consumption (demand) falls, just as increasing wages need not decrease employment, if consumption rises.

The current minimum to low wages are ballooning social costs, with the government (and the tax payer) subsidizing private employment, through income credits, welfare payments, food stamps, health care, etc. Eliminating or significantly slashing those public subsidies (as many conservatives are calling for) would simply lead to a severe reduction in consumption. Business is perfectly happy to have tax payers not just continue to foot their bills, but to carry a heavier and heavier load. The sensible move is to ask business to cover more of the actual cost of their labor and reduce the amount of subsidies their workers require, either through paying higher wages or higher taxes.

Posted Mon, Jun 9, 7:47 a.m. Inappropriate

You are simply hurting youth as well as people who have significant barriers to employment, such as persons with criminal records, long term unemployed, etc.Minium wage is an entry/training wage. Yes, when the economy is bad you find a different group of people working in these jobs, but as the economy improvves, they move on. Have we all forgotten basic economics - supply & demand?

Seasoned

Posted Mon, Jun 9, 11:20 a.m. Inappropriate

You mean simpleton economics...

Minimum wage hasn't been an entry/training wage in a long time. Seniors (50 and older), due to being increasingly pushed out of higher paying careers and jobs, have outnumbered teens and new workers in the fast-food industry for quite some time now. This is not Happy Days.

It is exploitation and the accelerated transfer of private costs by business onto the public (taxpayers).

Posted Mon, Jun 9, 3:57 p.m. Inappropriate

Gotta love the reports of the decline of western civilization - from what? Raising the minimum wage up to $15/hr. Despite all the supposition - the two studies worth any academic salt show that the effect of raising the minimum wage is basically a wash.

Lily32

Posted Tue, Jun 10, 6:34 a.m. Inappropriate

Most full time fast-food workers in Seattle are young people or immigrants. There are part-timers who are not, but again, that is supplemental income. Do get out and look around. Again, this is an entry-level wage.

Seasoned

Posted Sun, Jun 15, 1:28 p.m. Inappropriate

I praise the intelligence of the people making $15 an hour Seattle's minimum wage. To all the shills, trolls, bots, and others that disagree with improving the lives of families and communities in the USA shame on you. Times are a changing...what are you capitalistic driven and owned nay sayers gonna do when the stock market fails and you lose your 401K? Join a union? Join a collectively owned business? American dream working for you now? Wait a awhile. Standby for a mandatory education in economics to be given to all shortly. Thank you Ms Kshama Sawant and the brave, courageous humans of the $15NOW campaign that is moving across America...please sign our petition at MoveOn.org----http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/federal-minimum-wage-1.fb50?source=c.fb&r;_by=9877089

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