‘SeaTac is proving trickle-down economics wrong’

People rally in support of a $15 minimum wage at Seattle Central Community College in Seattle, Washington March 15, 2014.
People rally in support of a $15 minimum wage at Seattle Central Community College in Seattle, Washington March 15, 2014.  Jason Redmond/Reuters

‘SeaTac is proving trickle-down economics wrong’

09/08/14 11:18 AM
The community of SeaTac, Washington, home to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, this year became the first in the nation to approve a $15 minimum wage law.
It’s been more than eight months since the policy took effect, and Dana Milbank highlighted the results over the weekend.
As fast-food workers demonstrate nationwide for a $15 hourly wage, and congressional Republicans fight off a $10 federal minimum, little SeaTac has something to offer the debate. Its neighbor, Seattle, was the first big city to approve a $15 wage, this spring, but that doesn’t start phasing in until next year. SeaTac did it all at once. And, though there’s nothing definitive, this much is clear: The sky did not fall.
“SeaTac is proving trickle-down economics wrong,” says David Rolf, the Service Employees International Union official who helped lead the $15 effort in SeaTac and Seattle, “because when workers prosper, so do communities and businesses.”
In fairness, SeaTac is a small community and the number of affected workers is quite modest, making this a difficult test case. Still, as Milbank’s piece noted, the owner of a SeaTac hotel, who had strongly opposed the minimum-wage increase during the 2013 debate, said the hike would invariably lead to local layoffs and eliminated jobs.
That was last year. This year, with the $15 minimum wage in effect, the hotel is moving forward with a multi-million dollar expansion anyway.
And what of Seattle, which will soon have easily the highest minimum wage of any major U.S. city?
Milbank’s column added these valuable insights.
In Seattle last week, I stopped in at the jammed Palace Kitchen, flagship of Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, who runs upward of 15 establishments. He warned in April that the $15 wage could “be the most serious threat to our ability to compete,” and he predicted that “we would lose maybe a quarter of the restaurants in town.” Yet Douglas has opened, or announced, five new restaurants this year.
Likewise, the International Franchise Association has sued to block implementation of the law, arguing that nobody “in their right mind” would become a franchisee in Seattle. Yet Togo’s sandwiches, a franchise chain, is expanding into Seattle, saying the $15 wage isn’t a deterrent.
And a spokesman for Weyerhaeuser, the venerable wood and paper company, says the $15 wage didn’t factor into its decision, announced last month, to move its headquarters and 800 employees to Seattle from outside Tacoma.
It’s against this backdrop that the political debate continues to unfold. The White House made a minimum-wage increase the subject of its official weekly address over the weekend, and just last week, two Republican opponents of a wage hike – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate hopeful Rep. Tom Cotton – both started hedging on whether an increase is a good idea.

Walmart Workers Launch Strike Action in Three Cities

shortlink here: http://wp.me/p2w2NH-nh

mnemonic here:  http://urlet.com/instituting.sounds

Walmart  Workers Launch First-Ever ‘Prolonged Strikes’ Today

Josh Eidelson on  May 28, 2013 – 10:57 AM
Walmart employees are on strike in Miami, Massachusetts and the California  Bay Area this morning, kicking off what organizers promise will be the first  “prolonged strikes” in the retail giant’s history. The union-backed labor group  OUR Walmart says that at least a hundred workers have pledged to join the  strikes, and that some workers walking off the job today will stay out at least  through June 7, when Walmart holds its annual shareholder meeting near  Bentonville, Arkansas.

Organizers expect retail employees in more cities to join the work stoppage,  which  follows the country’s first-ever coordinated Walmart store strikes last  October, and a high-profile Black Friday walkout November  23. Like Black Friday’s, today’s strike is being framed by the union-backed  labor group OUR Walmart as a response to retaliation against  worker-activists.

Update (5:30 PM EST Tuesday): Dozens of Southern  California Walmart retail employees plan to join this week’s strike starting  Thursday. According to organizers, the employees will rally on Thursday morning  in Pico Rivera with supporters including US Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), and  warehouse workers employed in Walmart-contracted buildings in the region. The  retail workers will take part in the “Ride for Respect,” traveling from  California to Arizona and New Mexico before arriving in Arkansas. Their caravan  will also include two fired warehouse employees, David Garcia and Javier  Rodriguez, who allege that their activism cost them their jobs.

Read more: http://www.thenation.com/blog/174551/walmart-workers-launch-first-ever-prolonged-strikes-today

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Q&A on the Minimum Wage at the March 14, 2013 Senate HELP Committee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABM0_L_5vLw

Published on Mar 15, 2013

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Q&A at the March 14, 2013 Senate HELP Committee hearing titled “Keeping up with a Changing Economy: Indexing the Minimum Wage.” Witnesses include Brad Avakian , Commissioner, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Portland, OR; Dr. Arindrajit Dube , Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA; Lew Prince , Managing Partner, Vintage Vinyl, St. Louis, MO; Carolle Fleurio , Restaurant Worker, Jonesboro, GA; Melvin Sickler , Franchisee, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Cinnabon, Williamstown, NJ; David Rutigliano , Owner, Southport Brewing Company, Trumbull, CT