City Hall

Sawant Supports $15 Minimum Wage Vote as "Backup" if Deal Proves Unsatisfactory

City council member Kshama Sawant supports a public vote on the $15 minimum wage if labor, business, and political leaders can't come to an agreement.

By Erica C. Barnett April 18, 2014

Philip Locker, the spokesman for Seattle's Socialist Alternative political group and an advisor to city council member (and socialist) Kshama Sawant, says Sawant is prepared to support a proposed ballot measure for a $15-an-hour minimum wage "as a safety net backup plan" if the city's Income Inequality Advisory Committee, on which Sawant serves, fails to come up with a proposal that doesn't include such concessions as a "tip credit" or "total compensation" at its final meeting this coming Wednesday. 

Both the tip credit and total compensation have been mentioned as requirements by restaurant and small business owners. The first would allow owners of businesses where workers are tipped to pay them sub-minimum wages as long as their total hourly pay was $15 an hour, once tips are included; the second would allow them to pay sub-minimum wages as long as their total hourly pay was $15 an hour, once other benefits including health care are included. 

Sawant, Locker said, is also opposed to proposals to phase out a potential tip credit, and has "a strong concern about the precedent that it sets" for future labor laws in Seattle.

The IIAC meets for the final time next Wednesday; 15Now organizers are gathering signatures now. The group is also holding its first "national conference" two Saturdays from now, August 26, at Franklin High School.


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