Mayor Ed Murray's office has released a batch of official quotes from members of his minimum wage task force.
Last week, there was buzz that the grassroots movement of fast food workers, labor activists, and former shock troops from Kshama Sawant's successful city council campaign would leap-frog the process and run a $15 now citizen's initiative of their own.
We spoke to the two big labor leaders on the task force last week—Service Employees International Union 775 leader David Rolf (the co-chair of Murray's task force) and King County Council Labor Leader David Freiboth—about the threat of a freelance initiative (and also about rumors we've heard that there's tension between labor contingent on the task force.)
Both Rolf and Freiboth signaled strong, continued support for Murray's process, though Freiboth was more up-front about the possibility of a separate initiative. (Meanwhile, Rolf dismissed rumors of tension on the labor side—supposedly between his union and the United Food and Commercial Workers union—while Frieboth wouldn't give a comment on that storyline.)
The $15 Now campaign should be antsy themselves about the possibility of a competing ballot measure from the mayor's camp.
While the official quotes released by the mayor's office about the task force—including statements from task force member and Seattle chamber of commerce leader Maud Daudon, Mayor Murray himself, and once again, Freiboth and Rolf—are subtly different from one another (Daudon is purposeful about not uttering the words $15, choosing "best minimum wage policy" and "our region's opportunity gap" while Freiboth directly IDs "$15"), there is definitely a unified note from the group, intended to position the city for an initiative of their own.
In other words: While the establishment has been fretting about the possibility of a renegade, but popular initiative that shows up the mayor's process, it seems the $15 Now campaign should be antsy themselves about the possibility of a competing ballot measure from the mayor's camp.
The quotes released by the mayor's office, which whole-heartedly endorse his process, simultaneously use what sounds like poll-tested language, calibrated to differentiate what they're offering from what the $15 Now campaign is offering.
Listen to Murray: "Our broad stakeholder process is on track and making good progress. There was always the potential for individuals to chart their own course as is their right, but I remain committed to a solution that is inclusive, thoughtful, lasting, and that minimizes unintended consequences to the greatest degree possible."
Note how an alternative measure is framed as "individuals ... chart[ing] their own course." That sounds pretty petulant as opposed to the "broad" "inclusive" and "thoughtful" solution he's got in mind.
And Rolf chimes in: "This Committee is the only place where business, labor, non-profit leaders and worker advocates are all at the table."
Again, notice the de facto juxtaposition: Rolf's "only place"—the mayor's inclusive task force—is being framed in opposition to any other attempt to pass a $15 minimum wage.
It's a subtle shift, but the Murray operation has gone from passive defense—what are they going to do about Sawant?!? everyone wants to know—to confident offense.