Surrender: Seattle Prepares for Robot Revolution by Setting $15 Minimum WagePosted: June 7, 2014
For Reason.com, Scott Shackford writes: Our labor participation rate is terrible and our economy shrank by 1 percent in the first quarter of the year. So it’s the perfect time to raise the minimum wage to a degree unseen in America before, right?
That’s what Seattle has done. Yesterday the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 over the next seven years. Labor activists are actually considering forcing a public vote to speed up the process so that it hits the new minimum in three years. The city recently elected its first Socialist council member, Kshama Sawant, so perhaps the move shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The City Council dulled the edge of the new minimum a bit by allowing for a lower training wage for teenagers and disabled workers. This prompted outrage from Sawant and labor supporters, who I guess want to drive teens and the disabled out of the job market entirely.
Franchise owners are planning a lawsuit because the law counts them as big businesses and only gives them three years to phase in the increase. From The Seattle Times:
Local franchisee David Jones, who owns two Subway stores in Seattle, puts his cost of a $15 minimum at $125,000 annually. He pays the stores’ 18 employees $10.50 an hour, on average; he figures he’ll have to raise sandwich prices by a dollar or more to maintain profits…
“I’m going to increase prices and work hard to provide the best service possible so that I don’t lose sales,” he said, noting that his nonfranchise competitors will have four more years to phase in the increase. “The playing field is not even.”
Seattle is at about the middle of the pack in metropolitan area unemployment rates—4.8 percent in April. There’s also already some information about how a $15 minimum wage may affect the area. Voters set a minimum wage for jobs at hotels and parking garages serving the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to $15 last fall. The change went into effect with the new year. The Seattle Times looked at some of the impact in February. While acknowledging that it’s still too soon to truly evaluate the consequences, the paper noted some price increases and “casualties”…(read more)
- Seattle’s Socialist City Council Member Kshama Sawant Hails Historic Vote For $15/Hour Minimum Wage (democracynow.org)
- Burger-flippers will get $15 an hour in Seattle; unemployed robots rejoice (watchdog.org)
- Seattle council passes $15 minimum wage (mysanantonio.com)
- Seattle Passes $15 Minimum Wage (nationalreview.com)
- They went there: Seattle just enacted a $15/hour minimum wage (hotair.com)
- Chicago Pols To Propose $15 Minimum Wage (dailycaller.com)
- ‘Unexpected’: Are Seattle businesses adding a surcharge to pay for the new minimum wage? [pic] (twitchy.com)