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Isn't it Weird That

Isn't It Weird That ... While the New York Times decided to present a bummer U.N. report about the future of the global climate as, well, a bummer (featuring the news that the world's nations are failing to combat climate change under the headline, "Climate Efforts Falling Short, U.N. Panel Says"), other papers, including the Seattle Times, decided to feature the silver lining? 

When running the New York Times' gloomy story, which led with the news that the world's governments "are not doing enough to avert profound risks in coming decades," the Seattle Times headlined the news with the following: "Still Time to Avert Crisis, U.N. Panel Says."

The sanguine interpretation was echoed by the the conservative Wall Street Journal, which reported optimistically, "U.N. Climate Change Report Says Worst Scenarios Can Still be Avoided." 

Isn't It Weird That ...

This afternoon, 15Now, the group affiliated with Socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant, announced they are going to start collecting signatures for a $15 minimum wage.

As opposed to the business-backed group that put forward a potential initiative last week that included "tip credit," a sub-minimum training wage, and a "total compensation" exemption allowing employers to pay less than minimum wage if they provide things like discounted meals, health care, or other benefits, 15Now's measure would impose a $15 minimum on "big businesses"—those with more than 250 employees—and would phase the new minimum in over three years, starting at the end of 2014.

Local nurse Sarah White filed the initiative with the clerk and was joined by King County Council member Larry Gossett, Hilary Stern from Casa Latina, Juan Bocanegra from El Comité, fast food activist Carlos Hernandez, and Katie Wilson from the Transit Riders Union. (Nicole Grant, the vice president of Washington State Labor Council, was on hand as well, though she wasn't representing the WSLC.)

So what's so weird about a crew of serious lefties filing, as they've threatened all along, a precautionary measure in case the mayor's task force lets them down? This strange appelation: The press release declared that "A coalition of supporters for a $15 minimum wage including Council member 15 Now" would be on hand.

We have a call out to 15Now to see if Council Member 15Now, who we assume is Sawant, supports the initiative; she's on Mayor Ed Murray's task force, which is expected to come up with at $15 minimum wage proposal of its own this month.

Specifically, 15Now's initiative, a city charter amendment, would mean: 

• On Jan 1, 2015, the minimum wage for workers at big businesses will be raised to $15/hour and raised each year to adjust for inflation.
 
• For small and medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations, the minimum wage will be phased in over three years starting with $11/hour on Jan 1, 2015.
 
• Small and medium sized businesses are defined as having fewer than 250 Full Time Equivalents, the standard set by Seattle's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.
 
• No training wages, no lower wages for tipped workers, and no "total compensation."
 
• Increased worker protections against wage and tip theft.

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