If you believe KIRO Radio’s John Curley, a lot of people are going to lose their jobs when Seattle businesses are forced to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. So he’s offering to help a handful find new work.
“I believe that the unintended consequences are that there will be a group of people simply washed away. No one will know that they’ve lost their job. They’ll be the least skilled and they’ll be the first to go.”
While Curley is an outspoken critic of the minimum wage increase, he says he’s inspired to help at least a few people the best he can. So he’s offering to work with 10 people to find them comparable work.
“If they’ve gone from $9.50 to zero, which is a true minimum wage, I will try to get them back to where they were before,” he says. “They don’t deserve to get more unless they’ve improved their skills, but they certainly don’t deserve to lose their job for the fact that somebody’s trying to help them.”
Curley has set up an email address and enlisted a friend to help him vet potential candidates he’s asking to write and let him know they’ve been let go. He says several friends and colleagues have offered to provide jobs, although it will likely be at least several years before Seattle employers start cutting workers. But he remains convinced many smaller employers will have no choice but to eliminate employees to cover the increased costs.
“We’re talking restaurants, we’re talking warehouses, we’re talking manufacturing, we’re talking trucking; I know a lot of people who employ a lot of people.”
Curley says he can’t make any promises, but he’ll do the best he can to help what he calls the “Forgotten Man.” It’s a reference to an old article by Yale University professor William Graham Sumner that refers to the impact on people in the middle asked to pay for reformist programs to help others, who then suffer as a result.
“It’s the unintended consequences,” Curley says. “And I have no doubt there will be plenty.”
If you are losing your job because of the Seattle minimum wage increase, you can send an email to John Curley at fifteen2Zero@gmail.com.