Forward Seattle, the business-backed group that wants to overturn the compromise $15 minimum wage plan passed by Mayor Ed Murray's 24-member Income Inequality Advisory Committee, is using misleading tactics to gather signatures to phase in a minimum wage of $12.50 by 2020 (with an initial minimum-wage hike to $10.10 an hour) for virtually all businesses.
Tapes of Forward Seattle signature gatherers, made by volunteers with Working Washington, a coalition of labor and community groups that fought for the $15 minimum wage, reveal that the group is claiming that Forward Seattle's rollback proposal is "part 2 of the plan" to raise the minimum wage, that the $15 minimum will never go into effect anyway because it will "get caught up in ligitation," and that the people deserve the right "to vote on it" instead of "just let[ting] nine people"—the city council —decide for us what the minimum wage is going to be."
One of the signature gatherers acknowledged that "honestly, my interest is that I get paid"—$2 a signature for the anti-minimum wage proposal—and that he had been brought in from St. Louis just this month to gather signatures. "I was shipped here. I'm an import," he said. "I'm just finding out about Seattle."
In another tape, which Working Washington posted on its web site, Forward Seattle signature gatherers claim, inaccurately, that the $15 minimum wage "hasn't been legalized yet," and that their measure would put the $15 "on there officially."
The city council, the signature gatherer claims, "didn't officially vote on it."