Extra Fizz: Pro-15 Now, Anti-15 Now Edition (Plus News from the Times)
The campaign for a $15 minimum wage gets some new supporters—and detractors.
1) The campaign for the a $15-per-hour minimum wage, 15Now.org, announced today that it has the support of two major local district Democratic groups, the 43rd and 36th District Democrats, which, respectively, represent neighborhoods stretching from Ballard and Magnolia, and Wallingford to Capitol Hill.
The Amalgamated Transit Union International, whose local 587 chapter represents Metro bus drivers, also endorsed a $15 minimum.
A task force appointed by Mayor Ed Murray to come up with a proposal to raise the minimum wage has reportedly deadlocked on the issue of the so-called "tip credit" ("tip penalty" to its detractors from labor)—bar and restaurant owners' argument that they should be allowed to pay less than the $15 minimum as long as their workers' total pay, including tips, adds up to at least $15 per hour.
2) Meanwhile, the Seattle Restaurant Alliance, a chapter of the industry-backed Washington Restaurant Association, is quietly (very quietly) organizing for a watered-down version of a $15 minimum wage.
In concert with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and two groups affiliated with the hotel industry, the SRA created a new group called the OneSeattle Coalition to support a phased-in minimum wage that includes a discount for "total compensation," counting things like health care and tips against a worker's total hourly pay.
The policy the group is supporting would also allow employers to pay workers a sub-minimum "training wage" during their first months on the job.
3) Rookie Seattle Times reporter Brian Rosenthal who revved up the Seattle Times Olympia bureau and accelerated their presence on social media with on-the-ground breaking news tweets, announced on Facebook this morning that he's leaving the Times after two-and-a-half years to take a job in the Austin bureau of the Houston Chronicle covering state government.
Congratulations are in order to Rosenthal, who added real energy to the Times coverage. Rosenthal won the Society of Professional Journalists Western Washington chapter's New Journalist of the Year award for his work in 2012.
In March, we reported that Rosenthal, along with veteran Times Olympia reporter Andrew Garber were leaving. Garber took a media job with the SPD.