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On Other Blogs Today: Training Wages, Cop Reform, Cop Turnover, and More
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1. Goldy at Horse's Ass makes a smart point about the impact of a so-called "training wage" on workers' ability to quit their jobs.
(This morning, the city council's minimum wage committee unanimously adopted minimum wage legislation that allows the city, like the state, to approve a subminimum wage for certain categories of employees, including teenagers, the disabled, and workers in apprenticeship positions. The Seattle Times supported the idea.)
His argument: Most minimum-wage jobs aren't highly skilled. Working the drive-thru at Burger King requires pretty much the same skills as working the drive-thru at Taco Bell. But since a worker at those low-skilled jobs would have to be "trained" at a subminimum wage every time they switch jobs, the training wage creates a huge incentive for them to stay at a job even if they don't like the hours, working conditions, location, or manager.
This is doubly true for workers wh, like many fast-food employees, work multiple part-time jobs: It will take even longer at each job to accrue enough "training" hours to work up to full minimum wage. Better to stay at a job you hate, then, than lose that income.
"This would shift the already lopsided balance of power in the employment relationship even more in favor of the employer. And if there wasn’t already such a large balance of power disparity, a minimum wage wouldn’t be necessary in the first place."
2. Speaking of the minimum wage: In case you missed it, here's city council member and 15Now leader Kshama Sawant in New York Magazine, which hails her as "a hero on the left" fighting for "a bold experiment that "would create the highest minimum wage in the world."
As I said earlier, I think Sawant (assuming she votes for the Murray compromise again when it comes to the full council on Monday) was the real winner coming out of today's vote. All the nuanced (and locally important) discussions about tip credits, training wages, and phase-ins that happened at Seattle City Hall won't matter a bit on the national stage, where Sawant will be hailed (or condemned) as the person who made the highest minimum wage in the country happen This is a national story, and Sawant is at its center.
3. The Seattle Times talked to U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan about the lawsuit filed yesterday by more than 100 Seattle Police Department patrol officers, claiming that the new use of force policies imposed under the city's consent decree with the Department of Justice violates their constitutional rights and makes it impossible for them to use their discretion in the heat of a confrontation.All the nuanced (and locally important) talk about tip credits, training wages, and phase-ins won't matter a bit on the national stage, where Sawant will be hailed (or condemned) as the person who made the highest minimum wage in the country happen.
Durkan called the lawsuit "without merit," and said the message to officers is, "Reform is on the way. Get on the train or leave." The new policy, which requires officers to use the minimum amount of force necessary and to attempt to de-escalate situations before they require use of force, was crafted in response to a a DOJ investigation that found a pattern of excessive use of force at SPD.
4. KIRO had a followup yesterday about a story I mentioned in Tuesday's OOBT (originally via the Rainier Valley Post): Residents of Seattle's South Precinct are unhappy about the fact that interim police chief Harry Bailey has appointed a new South Precinct commander—the seventh new commander in five years.
At a community meeting where "fear and frustration boiled over," KIRO reports, the new interim commander, Steve Strand, told neighbors, "our entire precinct is spun up right now and focused on addressing these violent crimes. We have proactive officers hunting down leads."
Over the course of nine recent days, there were nine shootings in the Rainier Valley.
5. Geekwire takes a comprehensive look at a report the city released recently on Internet access in Seattle, noting that fully 15 percent of Seattle residents have no Internet access at home—a shocking percentage given our reputation as one of the most tech-savvy cities in the U.S.
Who are those people? Non-English speakers, first of all—fewer than half of those surveyed with native languages other than English were wired. Latinos (including native English speakers) and disabled people were also less likely to have service, as were older residents.
Finally, one major data point that stuck out was lack of trust: People who were less likely to have Internet service at home were also more likely to say they were "not at all confident" that financial transactions on the Internet were safe.