Seattle Activists Try to Reverse a Huge Job-Killing Minimum-Wage HikePosted: July 11, 2014
For National Review Online, Celina Durgin writes: Seattle’s plan to dramatically increase the minimum wage is going to be unsustainable in the long term and is already costing jobs and raising prices, business owners say.
“I am concerned about my business and others in the community, but it isn’t just about any one business. It’s about how the entire economic community will be affected.”
Seattle businessmen lead by Forward Seattle, a non-partisan organization representing independent businesses, collected about 19,500 signatures to put a referendum on the city’s minimum wage ordinance on this November’s ballot. Several of the petitioners have said their businesses cannot withstand the ordinance’s schedule for increasing the minimum hourly wage, which will boost it from $9.25 to $15 in as few as three years for the largest employers.
Some petitioners had tried unsuccessfully to oppose the ordinance when it was passed June 3. They attended meetings, lobbied, and tried to file an amendment to the city’s charter, which they discovered wasn’t possible this year. “We hit a brick wall every single time,” Kathrina Tugadi, co-chair of Forward Seattle and owner of El Norte Lounge, told National Review Online.
“We thought it was interesting that everyone wanted to push this through so quickly.”
As a final recourse, Forward Seattle organized the petition to gather signatures for a referendum, giving voters the opportunity to repeal the ordinance in November. They argue that the passage of the regulation was rushed. “We thought it was interesting that everyone wanted to push this through so quickly,” Angela Cough, co-chair of Forward Seattle, told NRO.
If the ordinance isn’t repealed, business owners will have to respond, they say, and some already have.
Tugadi no longer hires musicians for her restaurant. With the wage increase still looming, she said she can’t justify expenses that don’t directly “add to the bottom line.” She’s also removed labor-intensive menu items and adjusted prices in preparation for the hike. And, she says, hours will have to be cut…(read more)
— Celina Durgin is a Franklin Center intern at National Review Online.
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