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A $15 minimum wage in SeaTac means a maid at a motel, who may or may not have had a high school education, would essentially be making the same as a school teacher with a bachelor's degree starting out, that's according to two teachers. (AP Photo)

Motel maid could now make as much as school teacher in SeaTac

Taken from Thursday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.

You've heard about the effort to get the highest minimum wage in the country in the City of SeaTac. The SeaTac City Council voted Wednesday to place an initiative on the November ballot that would raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour.

This means a maid at a motel, who may or may not have had a high school education, would essentially be making the same as a (starting) school teacher with a bachelor's degree, that's according to two teachers.

I heard from two school teachers Wednesday. One of them told me she started at $34,000 a year, another one $35,000 a year. Now we're going to be paying a housekeeper at a hotel in SeaTac about the same, $30,000 a year. Why? Because of the tyranny of the masses.

This is how nations cease to exist. Once people figure out they can vote to make other people give them more money, the number of "gimme people" increases. 'I won't get the college education. I won't get the job skills that make me more employable, but gimme more money anyway.'

I'm not saying everybody at minimum wage is in that situation. But a lot of people do and should use minimum wage jobs as a stepping stone in life, as a means to an end. I worked minimum wage jobs as I worked my way through college so I'd be a little more valuable an employable down the road.

But this is, 'No. We're not going to acquire the education and job skills that make us more attractive to an employers. We're just going to through the force of tyranny, using government as our hammer. We're just going to make people give us more money.'

An awful lot of people in minimum wage jobs are looking at that to be their livelihood. Those jobs aren't designed to be positions where you raise a family of four. This is basic economics. Whatever your employer pays you, you have to deliver more in value to that employer. If they lose money on you as an employee, they're going to fire you.

This is absolutely insane. I wanted to hear from someone in the city about the decision to put this to the voters. City Council members Barry Ladenburg and Pam Fernald agreed to come on the show.

When I asked why in the world is SeaTac looking to do this? Ladenburg clarified, saying the city is actually not trying to do this.

"This is not anything the city is trying to do," says Ladenburg. "What we voted on is what we legally had to do and that was to put it to a vote of the people. This is like a Tim Eyman initiative, if you will, that goes to Olympia. They can either pass it into law, or they can send it on to the vote of the people. The city has nothing to do with this."

According to Ladenburg and Fernald, the members of the SeaTac City Council were bound by law to push the initiative through to the voters.

"Here we are elected officials, we're trying to do what we're supposed to do and do it the right way," says Fernald.

On a personal level, Ladenburg says he doesn't think it's the place of the city to get between employees and employers.

"I don't agree with how this initiative is written as far as getting the city involved. It kind of wants to put the city in the middle between the employer and the employee. I don't think that's ever a good idea."

Fernald also doesn't approve of the initiative in the way it's written and says she heard firsthand from a hotel operator who thinks this will have a major negative impact on businesses in the area.

"He just said right straight out, 'Not only will this shut down businesses that are here now, it's going to kill economic development in SeaTac.'"

As Ladenburg explains it, the writers of the initiative told the city that it's really about getting wages for a specific group of workers, those in the transportation and hospitality industry around the airport, back to a level of wages they were receiving a number of years ago.

"My understanding, having met with these people just a week or so ago that wrote this initiative, is that what they're simply trying to do is get back to the wage standard, adjusted for inflation, of course, that these workers were getting back in 2005. That's what they're attempting to do here."

But isn't it up to the worker to move on if they don't think their wages are fair? If the employer has decided that's what that job is worth to them as the job creator, if the worker doesn't think that's fair, isn't it up to the individual to acquire the job skills, the life skills that make them in a free market more valuable to prospective employers? Instead of this initiative saying to an employer 'You have to pay more than what that employee is worth to your company.'

SeaTac voters now hold the cards in deciding whether to raise the minimum wage to $15 in a vote in November.

Taken from Thursday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.

JS

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