With Seattle charter amendment filed, 15 Now leader at Capitol Hill Community Council minimum wage panel this week

King County council member Larry Gossett at Monday's filing (Image: 15 Now)

King County council member Larry Gossett at Monday’s filing (Image: 15 Now)

Monday morning started with a bang for the movement to push forward an un-mitigated $15 per hour minimum wage in Seattle as 15 Now organizers have filed language for a charter amendment with the City Clerk. Meanwhile, 15 Now’s head and others in the maw of the talks surrounding income inequality and raising the minimum wage in Seattle like the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce’s Michael Wells will be at the April meeting of the Capitol Hill Community Council Thursday night for a panel to discuss the issues.

With Monday’s filing, activists can begin the process of collecting thousands of signatures to put the amendment on the ballot this fall. 15% of the vote totals in the most recent mayoral election will be required. Organizers have called the amendment process the “people’s safety net” in the event City Hall cannot deliver a solution this year. The mayor’s task force assigned with providing his office with a set of recommendations for raising the minimum wage is facing an end of April deadline as reports of an impasse over “tip credit” and “total compensation” continue to emerge. CHS coverage of Capitol Hill minimum wage issues is here including new organizations and pro-business alliances and the strong push from many neighborhood bar and restaurant owners to include tips and other benefits like health care in wage calculations.

15 Now’s Jess Spear, who has said tip credit cannot be part of Seattle’s minimum wage solution, will be on hand at Thursday night’s community council meeting:

Next week is an important and fascinating meeting, please come! A forum on the proposed $15/hour minimum wage and its implications. Our agenda will be:

April 17th meeting: 6:30 Cal Anderson Park shelter house

6:30-6:45 Announcements and quick bylaw vote
6:45-6:50 Alyssa Introduces Minimum Wage & Capitol Hill Panel and Lays Ground Rules
6:50-7:00 Ted Virdone, Legislative Assistant to Kshama Sawant provides updates/overview of issue
7:00-7:25 5 minutes per panelist for intro and position statement
7:25-7:35 Panelists Address pre-determined clarifying questions from Council
7:35-8:00 Q&A open to all

Panelists:
-Jess Spear, Organizing Director 15 Now
-Volunteer, 15 Now
-Michael Wells, Director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce
-and more.

This proposal is still fluid – we need your input!

April 17, CaL Anderson Park shelter house 6:30

Meanwhile, activists are planning for April 26th’s planned 15 Now national conference as groups from around the country organize for higher wages from coast to coast. The national conference will be held at Seattle’s Franklin High School. “We will share our experiences and collectively discuss our strategy to take our movement to the next level,” organizers promise. Details on the event are here.

As the powers that be pound out the compromise — or, more likely, series of compromises — needed to win popular approval, all sides will be asked how much they are willing to give up. Propose your own compromises in comments. At this point for many, it appears that $15 an hour is the only offer on the table.

UPDATE: Here’s a summary of the amendment provided by 15 Now:

Summary of Charter Amendment

A charter amendment requires approximately 30,000 signatures to be put on the ballot and would become part of the charter of the City of Seattle. The City Charter can only be amended by a popular vote.

The proposed Charter Amendment submitted by Sarah White includes:

  • On Jan 1, 2015, the minimum wage for workers at big businesses will be raised to $15/hour and raised each year to adjust for inflation.

  • For small and medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations, the minimum wage will be phased in over three years starting with $11/hour on Jan 1, 2015.

  • Small and medium sized businesses are defined as having fewer than 250 Full Time Equivalents, the standard set by Seattle’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.

  • No training wages, no lower wages for tipped workers, and no “total compensation.”

  • Increased worker protections against wage and tip theft.

12 thoughts on “With Seattle charter amendment filed, 15 Now leader at Capitol Hill Community Council minimum wage panel this week

    • It’s not a joke. The Mayor has appointed both business and labor interests to the commission. It is a careful and reasonable way to assess the various proposals on the table. Why don’t you wait for the commission’s report before you condemn it?

  1. Happy to see a phase in proposed. And I agree with not including total compensation but I think a tip credit does make sense.

    Complex issue but it seems we’re making progress. I’d love to see Seattle prove that $15 works for everyone.

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