Josh opined this morning that Mayor Ed Murray's minimum-wage task force was supposed to be different in at least one sense than a hypothetical minimum-wage debate under former mayor Mike McGinn, which most certainly would have been a labor-vs.-Chamber ballot battle from the very beginning led by the often defiant McGinn.
Perhaps, we had thought, Murray could make a $15 minimum happen without an ugly war between competing initiatives from 15Now (supporting a full $15 minimum immediately) and business (supporting a phased-in approach with tips and health care included as part of total compensation along with an expanded definition of "small business" that rendered it meaningless).
With a day to go before Murray's self-imposed deadline, it's still unclear what will happen, but our hopes for a peaceful compromise are dwindling.
Murray released a statement this afternoon—after a meeting of his minimum-wage advisory committee was delayed for hours, reportedly so that a separate sub-group could hash things out privately in Murray's office—saying only that he'll have an announcement of some sort to make ... at 1:15 tomorrow. "We may reach an agreement by tomorrow, we may not. But in either case, we will get to a good, thoughtful, meaningful solution that reflects the input and concerns of all who will be affected."
Here's Murray's rather tepid statement:
We are very, very close to a deal that all stakeholders can agree with, but we are still not there yet.
Tomorrow at 1:15 p.m., I am prepared to announce a plan for how we raise the minimum wage in this city. Standing with me, I hope, will be members of my income inequality advisory committee. And it is my hope that it will be all the members of my advisory committee.
We may reach an agreement by tomorrow, we may not. But in either case, we will get to a good, thoughtful, meaningful solution that reflects the input and concerns of all who will be affected – which has been the goal of this process all along.
At some point, the interest in the process [will] yield to an interest in the final product – and tomorrow we reach that point.
That's hardly a ringing vote of confidence that the group will reach an agreement ("we may reach an agreement, we may not"?) Failure to come up with a plan would be a major blow to the Murray administration, which vowed way back in December that the panel would reach agreement on "a wage that's livable" by May 1.
We have a call out to Murray's office.
15Now's Philip Locker said he wasn't discouraged by yesterday's anti-transit vote, which could be read as a strike against a progressive measure like the one 15Now may ultimately end up putting on the ballot if the city council (which is ultimately responsible for crafting a final proposal) doesn't come up with a plan the group can accept.
He says the vote actually shows "why we should not agree to any of these watered-down provisions. It shows that it’s not politically realistic to ask workers to vote for regressive taxes" like the sales tax that would have funded the preservation of King County Metro service.
Meanwhile, a new group called 15 for Seattle, a coalition of 100 organizations including One America, El Centro de la Raza, the local firefighters union, and 15Now, is holding a rally at City Hall to support a $15 minimum wage at 4:00 this afternoon.