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Email trail linked to Seattle minimum wage study is ‘not pretty’

(File, City of Seattle)

It’s been alleged that supporters of Seattle’s minimum wage law sought to undermine a study from the University of Washington that painted a less-than-perfect picture of what’s followed. And a paper trail leading back to city officials may have further solidified those allegations.

RELATED: UW Professor explains minimum wage study

When the Seattle City Council passed the $15 minimum wage law it commissioned the University of Washington to study its affects on the local economy and workers. The recent UW study found that the economy absorbed the first wage increase from $9.47 an hour to $11 an hour. But after wages increased again, some businesses cut workers’ hours, meaning that despite getting a higher wage, workers didn’t earn from as many hours.

However, another study from the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment found the wage law to be mostly positive.

But an email trail, which can be found at Forbes.com, led to some evidence that Forbes contributor Michael Saltsman called “not pretty.”

Among the findings, according to Saltsman, is a request from Mayor Ed Murray’s office asking the people at Berkeley to “omit any mention of the forthcoming University of Washington report from its write-up.”

“Unfortunately, for them, I think they put a lot of coordination in email form that was accessible via public records request,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

It certainly raises questions about objectivity, Dori pointed out.

The email trail also reveals that the press release for the Berkeley study was written by a PR firm that was also used by Fight for $15, strong proponents of the minimum wage law.

The Berkeley study, it appears, was also rushed to meet the timeline for the anniversary of the law, Saltsman said.

Listen to the entire conversation here.

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