I got a press release this morning from OneSeattle, the business group that's recently organized around the minimum wage debate. "OneSeattle Coalition shares some 'tips' on minimum compensation & the $15 debate," read the subject line. The press release announced their new website, 1seattle.org. (That link may or may not work, more on that in a second.)
I dutifully checked it out. Full of stock photos of laughing servers and tip jars, it seemed pretty straightforward. According to the press release, it was "unabashedly pro-business, pro-prosperity, and pro-Seattle," and would have articles about why a tip credit is important, something about employee compensation from a business owner's perspective, and a "Who We Are" section, which included "lots of names & brands you know & trust."
I must have been really sleepy, because the site seemed totally believable. Sure, some of the wording was a little weird, and damn those stock photos were overly cheerful, but it took me reading through the lists of big companies who are affiliated—McDonald's, Microsoft, Holiday Inn—to get to a punch line:
David Meinert affiliated corporations
Since the smoking ban, David Meinert has been bringing the concerns of restaurant owners to a fresh Capitol Hill clientele.
Big Mario’s Pizza
Lost Lake Café
The 5 Point
The Comet Tavern
That's when I started clicking on the other links. One was called "$15 now? How about $15 already!" and explained, using "employer-side math," how expensive each employee already is and how they already cost employers at least $15 an hour. Another one, on "the tip scare," read in part:
While there's no evidence of a relationship between base wage for workers and tip income, people on the internet have threatened to stop paying tips if wages go up.
Online comments simply present too much risk to the tipping model, so employers might be forced to bar tipping entirely.
This site is fucking hilarious. I've been waiting for some laughs in this increasingly cranky debate, and this is the first laugh I've gotten in a while. (Who's behind it? Dunno yet, but obviously we're looking into it.)
Unfortunately, in the time it's taken to write a post, the site's already disappeared, then popped back up over here. Don't know how stable it'll be throughout the day, so take a second to check it out when you can. (OneSeattle's real website is right here, for comparison.)
And don't worry! They're on Twitter, too!
AstroTurf is an innovative company and significant employer. It’s not an insult. http://t.co/imbuCjPE8Q— OneSeattle (@1seattle) April 11, 2014