Monday Fizz: Unnecessary and an Additional Hardship
Monday Fizz featuring the minimum wage victory, minimum wage worries, and South End crime concerns.
1. With the city council poised to unanimously approve the compromise $15 minimum wage proposal crafted by Mayor Ed Murray's business-and-labor-led Income Inequality Advisory Committee this afternoon, supporters of the proposal, organized as 15 for Seattle, are planning to hold a "dance party" this afternoon at city hall around 3:00, right after the vote at City Hall Plaza at Fourth and James.
In a statement, one of the members of 15 for Seattle, the labor group Working Washington, said Seattle will be "the first big city to commit to the principle that everyone should be able to support themselves, afford the basics, and contribute to the economy."
2. However, in a letter congratulating the council on passing the bill, 15Now—the group, which includes city council member Kshama Sawant (who voted for the proposal on Friday), that supports an immediate $15 minimum for big businesses and a shorter phase-in for small businesses, with none of the credits and exemptions included in the compromise—joined with 15 for Seattle in a letter objecting to a possible amendment that would redefine (people who own individual outlets of big restaurants like Subway and McDonald's) as small businesses, prolonging the phase-in period for a $15 minimum.
"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."
Additionally, in their letter, the two groups object to the so-called training wage provision, which gives the city the authority to allow employers to pay subminimum wages to teens, the disabled, and "apprentice" employees, and to the three-month delay in implementation of the new law, which will go into effect in April 2015, rather than January.
"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," they write.
Overall, however, signatories from 15Now—whose leader, Jess Spear, is running against House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43)—seem generally thrilled about the compromise. "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," they conclude. A competing ballot initiative from the left is looking less and less likely, as 15Now organizers gear up to move their campaign to other cities across the country.
3. In the wake of two more deadly shootings in Seattle's South Precinct over the weekend (two men were murdered at 29th Ave. S. and S. King St. early Sunday morning), Mayor Ed Murray plans to personally attend Wednesday's meeting of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council. It will be the third community meeting about violence in the South End—recently, there were nine shootings in the precinct in as many days—in the past month.
At the first one, a special meeting of the city council's public safety committee at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center, residents expressed frustration that the city isn't doing more to give kids activities to do after school and to eliminate the "school-to-prison pipeline."
Interim police chief Harry Bailey, who will be speaking to the SSCPC in July, recently appointed a new South Precinct commander, Steve Strand—the seventh commander the South End has had in the last five years.