Today, Mayor Murray delivered his proposal for raising the minimum wage to City Council. The City Council will deliberate in public and it is important that low wage workers have their voices heard in this process. My staff has put together a few telling graphs that you can see below. Also included at the end is a link to the excel spreadsheet so you can see the numbers in their raw form.
The fact that the City Council of a major city in the U.S. will discuss in the coming weeks raising the minimum wage to $15 is a testament to how working people can push back against the status quo of poverty, inequality, and injustice. The movement, starting with fast food workers nationwide, and pushed forward by [the union-backed ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour in Seattle’s suburb] SeaTac and 15 Now, is forcing business and the political establishment to accept raising our wages.
The proposal that has been announced is a result of the pressure from this movement. It will improve the lives of many working people, however it also reflects the attempt of business to water down what the working people of Seattle want.
To be clear: I don’t support phasing-in for big business. McDonalds and Starbucks have no justification for keeping their workers in poverty for a day longer.
For workers in Seattle, 11 years is a very long time to wait for a decent wage. Every year of a phase-in is another year of poverty for workers.
I do not support tip credit. Tip credit has proven itself to be a cause of poverty for tipped workers in the 43 states in which it exists. It also overturns the 1988 democratic majority vote by Washington State workers. Restaurant Opportunities Center has a lot of excellent information on tipped workers. Also Puget Sound SAGE reported details for Seattle tipped workers here.
I do not see why businesses should get a healthcare credit. Business executives don’t have to make a choice between a decent wage and health care for their families. Why should workers have to make this false choice? Workers make this city run, and they deserve wages, tips, and healthcare.
Here is the basic chart of the Mayor’s proposal:
This proposal brings the minimum up to $14.30/hour in 2015 dollars, for some workers as late as 2025, a full 10 years from now.
Here is that same information in a graph.
Compare that to the proposal I have argued for since March 15:
Here is an excel file with raw data minimum wage scales.