The Mayor made an early morning appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss Seattle’s move toward a $15 Minimum Wage.
Mayor Murray appeared this morning on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports to talk about raising the minimum wage in Seattle and fighting income inequality at the city level:
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray this afternoon signed legislation raising Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Here are his remarks, as prepared:
“Today, we are grateful for the work of my Income Inequality Advisory Committee, the Seattle City Council and everyone who lent their voice to this process and helped us get to this historic day.
Although it is historic, today marks a beginning, not an end.
It is not about promises kept, but about promises to keep.
We have taken a great step forward in the challenge of addressing income inequality and rebuilding the middle class.
And it’s a step we recommend to other cities around the country who seek to take action as we have.
But it is only a first step.
Income inequality will not be solved by the minimum wage alone.
Together, we must continue our work to provide:
- Children with a hand-up, through pre-school opportunities;
- Seniors with recreational opportunities at our community centers;
- Transit opportunities that allow people to live and work in this city; and above all
- Housing that’s affordable to Seattle’s working families.
Our work must continue.
I’ll close by returning to my favorite FDR quote:
The country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
The economic policy of the 34 years has failed, it has decimated the middle class and it has created the largest income inequality gap in our history.
Seattle is trying something else.
And we are doing it the Seattle way, through collaboration with our great community of businesses large and small – this city’s leaders in innovation, job creators and civic partners.
Seattle – all of you here today – has shown that we can help our employees without hurting our employers. I want to again thank you all for your leadership.
And with that, I will sign the legislation.”
Photos from today’s signing can be found on Murray’s Flickr page. For more information on Murray’s proposal for increasing the minimum wage within the city of Seattle, visit murray.seattle.gov/minimumwage.
Footage of today’s legislation:
This afternoon Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after the City Council’s unanimous passage of his legislation raising Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour:
“I want to thank all members of the Seattle City Council for making history today.
Today symbolizes a beginning, not an end. It is about promises to keep, not promises kept.
Today is not about any single politician or individual or group. It is about the people of Seattle coming together to make a profound difference to the lives of Seattle workers.
Some have called what we have done a radical experiment. I disagree. The real radical experiment has been the economic policy of the last 34 years that has dismantled our middle class.
Today, we have taken bold action to begin to reverse that radical trend. Today we have taken action that will serve as a model for the rest of the nation to follow.”
Mayor Murray will sign the recently passed legislation tomorrow, June 3, in the courtyard outside the Cal Anderson Park shelter house (1635 11th Ave.) at 1:15 p.m.
For more information on Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee and his proposal for increasing the minimum wage within the city of Seattle, visit murray.seattle.gov/minimumwage/.
“I appreciate the good work of the City Council to make clarifications and technical fixes to our minimum wage legislation while keeping the overall framework of the deal we announced on May 1st intact.
I want to thank the Council’s minimum wage committee for its unanimous vote, and I look forward to action from the full Council in the coming days.
Together, we are on the verge of making a huge economic difference for tens of thousands of Seattle workers at the same time that we are on the verge of making history.”
Mayor Murray released the follow statement this evening regarding subminimum “training wages”:
“During the course of negotiations by my Income Inequality Advisory Committee — comprised of members of business, labor, and nonprofits — a key area of consensus emerged: where possible, rely on state statute to resolve potentially contentious issues. Having this established precedent—the state’s minimum wage law—helped IIAC members find common ground and avoid re-litigating many issues that could have fractured the historic compromise they reached.
One such area of contention was training wages. Some business representatives wanted to explore the concept. Labor representatives were opposed. This issue could have deadlocked the Committee, but during the drafting process the members agreed to look to the State Minimum Wage Act.
The result is that no ‘training wage’ is included in my proposal. And I am glad for this. A training wage is not something I endorse and is not part of this deal.
However, there is a little used provision in the state law that allows for a subminimum wage in limited circumstances. For example, individuals whose earning capacity is impaired by physical or mental deficiency may be eligible. It also provides that subminimum wages could be allowed for qualified registered apprenticeship programs and student earner programs. Such exceptions, called “certificates,” are only issued by the state after a rigorous application process. The state, for example, looks at if such certificates will create unfair competitive labor costs or depress wages, and ensures workers will not be kept at training wages for prolonged periods. While this threshold is difficult to meet, there is a path available for those who can truly demonstrate great need and sufficient worker protections.
Labor representatives would prefer that the ordinance not contain any exceptions to allow subminimum wage, and I understand their skepticism. However, after reviewing my legislation (and being assured that it is narrowly tailored with criteria to ensure the wages of other workers were protected), they signed-off. They understood that this deal is the result of a careful balance of needs and interests and that adhering to that guiding principle of state law was important, even when it was difficult. For that, I am appreciative.”
Mayor Murray today transmitted his proposed legislation raising Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour to the Seattle City Council, with eight legislation co-sponsors: Council President Burgess and Councilmembers Bagshaw, Clark, Godden, Harrell, Licata, O’Brien, and Rasmussen.
“This legislation was an exercise in hard work, patience and diligence,” said Murray. “I want to thank the 24 members of my Income Inequality Advisory Committee, especially the eight sub-committee members, who were able to represent the needs of the groups they represent while negotiating an agreement that benefits the city.”
“I am also grateful for the partnership of my colleagues in the Seattle City Council, some of whom joined on the Income Inequality Advisory Committee and many who are co-sponsoring this legislation with me,” Murray added. “While I know they will exercise their prerogative as legislator, I know that the main principles represented in this bill will remain through their discussions, joining me in showing true leadership for our city.”
The minimum wage bill will be discussed by the Seattle City Council on May 22 at noon.
Read the language here.
A recent poll conducted by EMC Research found that voter support is growing even more for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle. Of the 550 likely voters polled, 74 percent supported a $15 minimum wage, which is up from 68 percent in January.
Of those polled, 66 percent supported Mayor Murray’s proposal to raise the minimum wage. The poll also found that voters see the Mayor, labor unions, and fast food workers as the most credible on the subject.
You can view the full report here:
America is watching and cheering us on as we in Seattle work to raise the minimum wage for our low-wage workers who struggle to afford the basics.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today announced the details of a broadly-supported plan to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, the highest of any major city in the nation.
“Seattle workers are getting a raise,” said Murray. “Throughout this process, I’ve had two goals: to get Seattle’s low-wage workers to $15-per-hour while also supporting our employers, and to avoid a costly battle at the ballot box between competing initiatives. We have a deal that I believe accomplishes both goals.”
Murray said the plan announced today has the confirmed support of 21 of 24 members of his Income Inequality Advisory Committee (IIAC), a group convened in December with representatives from Seattle’s employer, labor, and non-profit communities to address the pressing issue of income equality in Seattle.
The IIAC-supported plan supports Seattle’s low-wage employees and its employers with the following framework:
Small businesses (businesses with fewer than 500 employees) will reach a $15 per hour minimum wage in seven years. Also established is a temporary compensation responsibility of $15 per hour to be met within the first five years, which can be achieved by combining employer-paid health care contributions, consumer-paid tips, and employer-paid wages.
Large businesses (businesses with 500 or more employees, either in Seattle or nationally) will reach $15 per hour in three years. The wages of employees who receive health care benefits will reach $15 per hour in four years.
Previously, Murray had announced some guiding principles of the proposal while it was still under negotiation. Included among these principles is the agreement that:
- Once $15 per hour is reached, future increases will be tied to the consumer price index; and
- No industry, organization or class of employers is exempted from any provisions of the deal except as provided under state and federal law.
“This has been a long process of give-and-take leading to an agreement that will help to narrow the income gap facing our middle class,” said Howard Wright, co-chair of the IIAC and CEO of the Seattle Hospitality Group. “When I accepted this role, it was with three tenets in mind: 1) measurement of additional forms of income above and beyond straight wages; 2) a phase-in period allowing employers to plan and to anticipate labor costs; and 3) no exemptions or special carve outs. All three of these goals were met; while I know not everyone in the employer community will be satisfied, I believe it is the best outcome given the political environment.”
“For forty years, we’ve seen a shrinking middle class and declining real wages for a majority of American workers,” said David Rolf, co-chair of the IIAC and president of SEIU 775. “This isn’t only bad for American workers, it’s bad for America. When workers have less income, businesses have fewer customers and governments spend more on social services. With this announcement today, Seattle is leading the way toward a better economy and more robustly shared prosperity. One hundred years from now, our generation will be remembered for whether or not we stood up and fought for the American Dream in its moment of greatest risk.”
“The Mayor has displayed strong leadership in convening the Advisory Committee and bringing them to a final proposal,” said Council President Tim Burgess. “It’s important that we not harm our businesses while we also recognize the harm caused by stagnant wages and lost opportunity. Starting next week, the Council will promptly and carefully review the Mayor’s legislation.”
“This is an important step in addressing the opportunity gap for workers and families in our community, and still have a policy that supports the growth of all small businesses. I am also deeply committed to other means to assist people out of low wages such as education, mentorship and self-help development,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “I would like to thank the Mayor and the advisory members for all of their hard work in listening to the concerns of employees and employers in reaching an agreement.”
“This proposal breaks new ground and sets the course for a national trend to close the income gap that has stifled this nation’s prosperity and our children’s future,” said Councilmember Nick Licata
Murray noted that in seven years, a minimum wage worker in Seattle will:
- Earn at least $4 more per hour than a minimum wage worker elsewhere in Washington;
- Earn $6,240 more per year than a minimum wage worker elsewhere in Washington, assuming a 30-hour work week;
“Great entrepreneurs have come to the table to do great things,” said Murray. “This is how we achieve growth and prosperity. With this deal the people of Seattle are seizing control of our own destiny and are leading the way to show how cities can choose to be affordable cities for all.”
The IIAC minimum wage proposal will be heard by the City Council’s Select Committee on Minimum Wage & Income Inequality on Monday, May 5th at 2:30 pm.
Members of Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee are:
- David Rolf (co-chair), SEIU 775
- Howard Wright (co-chair), Seattle Hospitality Group
- Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata
- Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell
- Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant
- Janet Ali, Nucor Steel
- Sarah Cherin, UFCW 21
- Maud Daudon, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
- Craig Dawson, Retail Lockbox
- Bob Donegan, Ivar’s Restaurant
- David Freiboth, Dr. Martin Luther King County Labor Council
- Joe Fugere, Tutta Bella
- Audrey Haberman, Philanthropy Northwest
- Nick Hanauer, Second Avenue Partners
- Pramila Jayapal, Center for Community Change
- Eric Liu, Citizen University
- Gordon McHenry, Solid Ground
- Dave Meinert, Onto Entertainment
- Craig Schafer, Hotel Andra
- Diane Sosne, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
- Nicole Vallestero Keenan, Puget Sound Sage
- David Watkins, Seattle Hotel Association
- Michael Wells, Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce
- Ronald Wilkowski, Financial Services
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