Seattle’s minimum wage supporters report ‘sky remains aloft’

Jun 4, 2015, 1:04 PM | Updated: Jun 6, 2015, 7:59 am
Businesses are being called out for spreading fear over Seattle’s minimum wage law....
Businesses are being called out for spreading fear over Seattle's minimum wage law.

Businesses are being called out for spreading fear over Seattle’s minimum wage law.

Despite the “dire predictions” by some business owners that the city would collapse, Working Washington says everything is still fine.

“The sky remains aloft,” a post by the organization reads. The idea that Seattle would become an “economic wasteland” due to the minimum wage law is likened to Chicken Little’s prediction that the sky is falling.

In the past year, many of the same people who predicted businesses would be hurt by the law are now hiring and even expanding, according to Working Washington spokesperson Sage Wilson.

“Political commentators, economists, and other self-appointed experts” said the law would increase unemployment and small businesses would close, according to Working Washington.

Related: Seattle law creating ‘cutthroat’ environment for minimum wage jobs

The businesses, for example, that feared the law are now reporting the following (according to Working Washington): Liberty Bar, which said independent businesses will close, is opening a second bar; Lam’s Seafood Market said the law would be devastating, but is now expanding its parking lot; Holiday Inn Express said it was afraid of the minimum wage, but is now hiring; Poppy said $15 without a top would jeopardize business, but is now opening a second restaurant. More statements from the business can be seen on the organization’s website.

Working Washington isn’t try to call anyone a liar, Wilson said. What is being highlighted are statements made about short-term impacts of the minimum wage law that have not come to fruition.

“We think that’s important for people to realize,” Wilson added.

For the people who live in, or travel to Seattle, Wilson said it’s obvious businesses aren’t shutting their doors as originally feared. However, the people outside the city hearing about the law, might only be hearing all the negative opinions. That could hurt efforts of raising wages elsewhere.

“We thought it was pretty valuable to look at what is happening and what they said would happen,” Wilson said.

Working Washington suggests people no longer treat the “threats” by businesses as credible.

The higher wage requirement went into effect April 1. It was signed into law about a year ago. The new minimum wage is to be phased in over time to reach $15 per hour. Currently, it is around $11. According to Working Washington, there hasn’t been enough time for businesses to see the benefit of people earning higher wages.

But if there hasn’t been enough time to see the benefit, has there been enough time to see the negative effects?

The wage law allows businesses to phase in higher pay. That means it could take time to see a real impact.

One of the biggest concerns from long-time economist Peter Nickerson is that there will be more people applying for traditionally low-paying jobs. That means less-qualified people who rely on jobs such as dish washing, may be in competition with more people.

Smaller businesses will have seven years to phase in the higher wages, which will include consideration for tips and healthcare costs.

Small restaurants, for example, are going to have a tough time paying employees, Nickerson said.

“These small restaurants can’t just raise prices to pay their employees,” he said.

Nickerson said he expects jobs to be cut and owners to find new ways to operate with fewer people. Businesses are profit-focused, he said, and they will work to continue to be that way.

Wilson didn’t deny the fact that things in Seattle could change over time.

“I’m not going to pretend that over the next 25 years things are going to be great,” he said.

While Seattle continues to figure out its minimum wage law, Tacoma is preparing for its own wage changes. A $15 minimum wage is too high, according to Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, which is why the city has created a task force to figure out the best path to higher wages. She told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz Seattle may have jumped the gun.

Local News

covid...
MyNorthwest Staff

UW Medicine study seeks local participants to understand COVID spread

UW Medicine invites Washington state residents up to age 85 to submit a survey about their exposure to COVID during the pandemic as part of a study.
1 day ago
Amazon...
MyNorthwest Staff

Amazon hiring for more than 500 positions at new sort center in Fife

A new Amazon facility in Fife, Washington, that's set to open later this month has starting hiring for more than 500 positions.
1 day ago
hospitals...
Nicole Jennings

Rural Eastern Washington hospitals say no big losses in staffing post-vaccine mandate

Some of the rural Eastern Washington hospitals that were expected to have big losses after the vaccine mandate say things are going well.
1 day ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
Associated Press

Climate Pledge Arena ready to get Kraken for hockey debut

The first event ever inside Climate Pledge Arena — whether it will be considered the official first event or not — was far from a soft opening.
2 days ago
Some of the located containers, captured by the US Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles helicopter....
KIRO 7 News Staff

Approximately 40 shipping containers adrift off Washington coast

Approximately 40 shipping containers were lost off a ship 43 miles west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, according to the United States Coast Guard.
2 days ago
refugees...
Kathryn Altena

Gov. Inslee, Washington groups prepare to welcome Afghan refugees

In the coming months, 1,400 Afghan refugees are expected to pass through the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport upon their arrival in Washington.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Seattle’s minimum wage supporters report ‘sky remains aloft’