The $15 Movement Lays Down Its Trump Card: A Ballot Measure

If They're Not Satisfied with the City's Process by June, They'll Force a Popular Vote


Be careful what you wish for.
Suck it up Dave! Time to give something back. Better get on the right side of this and quick.

Oooh, is there a way we can make it appear on the ballot like the viaduct advisory vote ? The majority voting "no" on each proposal was so inspiring.

Do you prefer 15Now's proposal 1

Do you prefer 15Now's proposal 2

Do you prefer 15Now's proposal 3

Do you prefer 15Now's proposal 4

Do you prefer OneSeattle's proposal 1

every proposal can get less than 25% support.
Something else Anna. You should in your next piece explain that what 15now is proposing is a charter measure which can only be undone by a charter measure...ensuring that no matter how many worms get on council in the forthcoming years that an alteration or slowdowns or cancellation of a $15/hr living wage will require another ballot measure essentially repealing this. That is the true trump card!

Everyone opposing this measure (including dipshits like max Solomon) need to really look at the data and evidence that this works. Repeated lies and unfounded criticism make you look like deniers of proven facts, I won't stir the pot by making comparisons..but you get my drift.
@4, there's data for a $15/hr minimum wage in a city of about a million people, without extrapolating to some time before the world wide web exhisted ?
The most honest thing for OneSeattle to do if 15Now gets their charter amendment on the ballot is to campaign for a "no" vote. Nothing more.

The only point of a competing measure -- the only point -- is to abuse the flaws of the initiative system and hope that the voters pass contradictory measures, leading to chaos, confusion and a costly court battle. Which wastes taxpayer money and leaves workers with nothing.

By not putting a second measure on the ballot, and focusing on a straight up or down vote on 15Now's amendment, they're treating the voters with respect and letting them make a final decision, and showing a willingness to abide by that decision. Rather than sow chaos and try to run out the clock.

Here's the worse catch: OneSeattle and various business-backed fellow travelers have an abysmal track record of keeping their mouths shut. Their emails leak and leak and leak. Their PR flacks might pretend publicly that their competing measure is a good faith proposal, but in private they're going to blab. They'll admit that it's a disingenuous gaming of the system, and everyone will know. They'll know the names of which local businesses are to blame.

It's also a far more expensive strategy, what with running two campaigns instead of one, and the eventual court costs. Kind of hard to claim you can't afford to raise wages when you have all this money to spend fighting a two-front initiative battle.

Don't go there. If you're against 15Now's initiative, then campaign against it. Play games, expect blowback.
Glad they took my advice.

Oh, expect $15 minimum wage on all state ballots in November 2016, btw
I think we're going to find out if Seattle realizes that economic justice is interwoven with social justice.
Many OneSeattle member businesses are paying $15/hour already.
Unlikely. Some states are already waking up and stopping this:…


Gotta love it when you fight for small government in the name of superior representation in your right hand and then completely shit on it in your left.

Go fuck yourself.
@11 It helps that he believes if the big bad Government would just go away everyone would magically form up in happy little communitarian settlements, sing songs and whistle while they work. No friction or strife between these independent communities, no competition for resources, they'd all just share. Employers and employees would suddenly negotiate over wages and benefits on an equal footing with neither taking advantage. If only Big Bad Government would just get out of the way.

We shall call this new Utopia Pollyannaland.
Clever play by making it a charter amendment. It takes City Council and the Mayor completely out of the equation, neutering their power.
If someone's got a problem with minimum wage they should go back to school and target a profession that pays better. Increasing the minimum wage is just going to cause inflation and those workers will end up being just as poor as they were before the raise. I would vote no just because the raise would devalue the rate of pay I currently receive.
@9: I gotta say that web site isn't doing you any favors. I mean, whining about ACA, counting costs like payroll taxes as employee compensation, and "depending on girth" with respect to employee meals? Jesus. Way to make me think you represent a bunch of assholes. I happen to be sympathetic to the arguments made on your behalf, that tipping is a part of compensation, but you lose me with that asinine web page.
@15 you should see the tweet they sent me:

"@joeszi @fifteennow The macroeconomic realities are cold comfort for the business owners whose dreams of becoming a chain could be dashed."

Full exchange:…
As opposed to what socialist lead governments end up looking like...…

And actually, during the age of the American West there was no central government and yet there was actually less violence than in modern American cities (the "wild west" is a Myth) and everyone's needs were still taken care of. It even worked in larger settlements that were nearly the size of cities. Source:

We voluntaryist anarchists have the old west, Medieval Iceland and Colonial Pennsylvania as models...the socialists pushing 15Now are Troskites (Socialist Alternative) and they use the Soviet Union as a model. Which one seems worse?
Good. Go and get the signatures - bring it to a vote. Let the Seattle people decide.

This is better than shoving it down the throats of our elected officials.

If Seattle really wants to drive out low wage workers, entry level positions, and the like, so be it. Everett and Tacoma are all to happy to have the industry that depends on these people.
The tyranny of the 1% versus the tyranny of the majority? Not sure which I'd choose.
Why allow continued exploitation of the workers in firms employing fewer than 250 people? That would leave far too many workers in Seattle earning less than a living wage.
Did anyone see this "story" on the 1Seattle site (one of the worst website designs I've ever seen, BTW)? I'm really thinking this is not a real person, it reads like an Onion article.…
OK, I get it, it IS parody. Sorry.
@17 - property rights were respected in the frontier days? That explains why native americans still own the place then!
Between the fake 1seattle website, the fake Twitter, and 15 now's *repeated* insistence that one seattle is run by Amazon, it seems like they're putting a lot of energy into reacting to this particular group. Maybe one seattle is onto something.
@21, Eckstein wrote, " I'm really thinking this is not a real person"

Right. OneSeattle (like ForwardSeattle) is not a person; they are coalition of businesses, from a handful of token local independent businesses, to multinational behemoths who call the Northwest home, to most of the largest of national chains. And some waiters who fear losing money their employers have craftily convinced them they'll lose if the minimum wage those employers are allowed to pay increases.

Their message is clear: We shouldn't be so hasty. We should allow businesses to provide alternatives to money in order to meet their obligation under the minimum wage law. We should allow employers to collect gratuities offered by customers and provide them to staff instead of the employers' money in order to meet their obligation under the minimum wage law.

One Seattle. Together. Forward. Seattle. Slowly. And we're already there, so not, really.
@15 They DEFINITELY need to leave the website up. "Kshama Sawant has minions! My greedy workers insist on breaks! Why can't I have Kshama Sawant's minions?!?!"

Most interesting to me is that the Rental Housing Association of WA is in with them. What's their interest in keeping wages low?
@26 gah - I walked right into it - parody, & perfectly pitched!
@17 hahahahaha

Ok seriously your Song of the South, Disney, version of history is.... well not worth responding to.

But even if it were... who cares. It is 2014 not 1870 - 1914 something.

Let's run through a short, impromptu list of potential scenarios if this were to pass. Shall we, Stranger Geniuses?

1. The vast majority of you are in no way equipped to deal with the influx of global competition world-class wages brings.

In bastard pigeon, this means you will lose your unskilled position to someone with skill. Or at least someone who isn't retarded and/or ugly.


2. College graduates will not make the minimum wage.

In bastard pigeon, this means you are salaried and will be fucked.


3. Until you can gather enough lower-math insects to refute basic arithmetic, the following bottom-line equation holds true.

10 of you have a job. You each make $10.

What's 10*10, Stranger Geniuses?

What's 100/15, Stranger Geniuses?

I know your classes in pottery, sociology(Ie, I spoke with someone and gained a bundle of imaginary. I must hand this bundle of imaginary to someone else so as to rationalize having wasted, at the least, four years of my life on some bullshit. Have some imaginary.) and home economics may not have prepared you for this, but 100/15 is 6.6 repeating.

In bastard pigeon, this means one of you is dismembered and three of you can go live in a sewer somewhere.

To rephrase in bastard pigeon, this means your boss started a business to make money and not to hand you a middle-class wage for something an intelligent, well-adjusted ten year old could accomplish. Or, "Fuck you."


4. Furthermore, your job as a cashier will be liquidated and replaced by a friendly little touch screen. And a big terrible chauvinistic man who actually breeds and furthers the human race while simultaneously having the ability to beat the shit out of you if you try to steal

In bastard pigeon, this means you are fucked.


These aren't scare tactics. This is what we call "Physical Reality."

Just a few thoughts, as most of you can't form them on your own.
@17: That is fucking adorable. Seriously. I bet when you walk outside birds fly around your head making lovely songs all day long, the sun with a big smile on its face.

That's the funny thing. The $15now people will talk your ear off about how everyone earning less than $15 are having to choose between rent or food or medicine or electricity because they can't afford to meet their basic needs. Then in the next breath they say businesses will gain thousands of new customers who will suddenly be shopping in bookstores, buying art, going to bars and restaurants, etc.

Which is it??? I'm all for making sure people earn enough to have housing, utilities, food, and health care. I DON'T feel it's a "basic human right" to have an apartment *in the city* (when the burbs are more affordable), to shop in bookstores, or to dine out or go to bars. If $15 is going to that then maybe $15 is too high.
Wow all these great things happen once we raise the wage to 15 an hour . Holy cow why not got for 30 and hour and double all the good thing think how much more people will spend then .
I would like to understand the reasoning behind why some feel total compensation shouldn't be considered.

For instance, if I make $12 an hour, but I also receive medical, dental, vision (+ possible other benefits), shouldn't that be part of my total compensation? Do you feel that insurance will still be provided by those who are so awesome to provide it when it isn't a requirement when their payroll increases? Not many will be able to afford to.

Another scenario- I am a tipped employee, making $9.32 an hour in minimum wage, but averaging anywhere from $20-$40 an hour based on my night. Shouldn’t my tips be considered as part of my total compensation? If I am paid $15 an hour, less people will tip the normal 18-20%, if at all, and my income will decrease. There have been surveys and studies done to prove this. Also my employer may elect to call me off a shift due to the increased cost of labor and therefore I make $0 that day.

A three year phase in plan for small businesses does nothing to protect the employees they currently have. Why would someone work for $11 an hour (as proposed by 2015) for a small business when they can do the same job, maybe even one with less expectations/responsibility, for the large corporations at $4 more an hour? Why wouldn't you go there? This will give the large corporations their pick of employees.

Most smart small businesses support and live local. If the local businesses they support have to increase their costs to pay their employees and also cover the increase in costs they are absorbing from where they purchase products from, most of them will look outside of city limits for the same product, at a cheaper price.

If you are going to raise minimum wage, you need to do it state wide, with a total compensation consideration. I believe every single person deserves to be paid a living wage, but more thought needs to be put into the fine details before the doors close to our local produce stands, boutique stores and owner operated restaurants & bars. All of which are abundant in West Seattle where I live and part of our culture. Small business is the heartbeat of all of Seattle.

Small businesses are founded out of a dream. Whether the idea came from a few notes scribbled on a cocktail napkin or was crafted over years of time, the risk involved in going out and putting it all on the line are huge. How are we making sure we don’t crush these dreams, therefore discouraging future entrepreneurs from fulfilling their dreams by opening up their business in our fair city?

why should your employer be able to require you to take their shitty health insurance and say it's worth $10/hour, so now you only get $5/hr? Why should they be able to say that your meal from the restaurant kitchen is worth $3/hr and you have to take it? If the employer wants to offer benefits, then they are free to do so - and if it is something the employee needs and finds fair value, he can pay the employer that $3/hr, or if it is overpriced or worthless, he can keep the money for more useful things.

also - can you point to the studies showing this effect on tips? I haven't seen any studies on this.
" Business owners created your jobs & we can destroy them too. So at the very least, pretend to take our concerns seriously.
— OneSeattle (@1seattle) April 15, 2014"

One Seattle are making threats. Fuck them!
@36: You do realize that's satire, right? The fake Twitter and fake website were written by the 15now people.
With all this endless jibber-jabber about the minimum wage, one thing is becoming clear: The ones in favor of a $15/hr minimum wage are prejudice and ignorant towards those of us who actually work for low wages. They think anyone making minimum wage is so stupid that they are all the same, without acknowledging the fact that there is pride and competition amongst low wage workers. If an employee is too slow, takes no pride in their work, is not efficient, has low work ethics, complains too much, calls in sick too much, disrespects their bosses, is never available to cover extra shifts when someone else is unavailable to work, basically takes no pride in the quality of their work and does a crappy, half-assed job, why on earth should THEY get $15.00/hr to START?? Where does that leave those of us who strive to improve and earn raises. I've been at my low wage job for 5 years and have been getting regular raises and now make $12.00/hr. If my wage goes "up" to minimum wage and some low life punk starts out at the same amount I make, what reason do I have to be an exceptional employee?
Probably some jerk will think anyone making minimum wage should NOT be trying to do great work, they're just the same as the next looser.
Sawant says watered down, I say common sense.

Two initiatives? Try 3 or more. The only good that will come of a ballot battle is the ad revenues that will sky rocket from out of state money.
#38 Did you ever think that people making minimum wage aren't a bunch of losers. Maybe they just didn't get the breaks those Seattle 1 people did. I know a lot of hard working people who make the minimum wage. In fact quite often its their employers and supervisors who are the losers. Their businesses are given to them by their parents and they give their loser friends jobs as supervisors. Your greed and disrepect is showing all over your post. Finally why do restaurant owners believe they shouldn't have to pay their workers? Is it just pure greed? They pay their workers and as a customer I will decide on the TIP.
$15 used to have 68% support as they once touted. Well now as small business owners and non-profits are telling what would happen the support has dropped to 47%, with even more opposed (48%). As more and more stories of the actual economic impact of inflation & job loss it will continue to drop further. Yes let this come to the polls & maybe we can be done with it once & for all.…
#40 You misread my comment. I clearly stated that I (me) make $12.00/ hr and I've worked hard to earn it and if the minimum wage goes up to $15.00/hr then I sure as hell better make $18.00 because I wouldn't have a reason to kick ass at work if low quality workers made the same as me. My point is that all minimum/low wage workers are not the same. I expect my GREAT work to be rewarded. Again, I AM A MINIMUM WAGE/LOW WAGE employee!! It is the people who make WAY more than minimum wage who think all of us low wage workers are the same.
32 nailed it. So people can't pay their bills on minimum wage now so it must be raised and in doing so aren't we just giving the gained income to land lords and utility companies? This basically guts the trickle down idea that low wage workers will spend more in retail shops and restaurants and put more money into tne economy.

"With all this endless jibber-jabber about the minimum wage, one thing is becoming clear: The ones in favor of a $15/hr minimum wage are prejudice and ignorant towards those of us who actually work for low wages."
Finally, someone sees the typical Stranger reader in the same way the newspaper does:…

The Stranger Reaches...
Stranger readers are affluent urbanites in their 20s and 30s with impressive disposable incomes and an appetite for everything the city has to offer. They see more live shows and movies, eat out and shop more, and spend more time online than readers of any other paper in town.

Many posts here from affluent urbanites with impressive disposable incomes. They can afford to pay $9 for a drink or a beer - screw you low income folks and your concern for inflation and actually keeping your minimum wage job.
@43 That is one of the most foully disingenuous comments I've read on this whole subject - have a shit medal! What do you think happens to the people who can't afford rent and bills at the moment, despite their full time jobs? Do you have any imagination for what the personal and social consequences are when a whole tier of society has to choose between rent, heat and food, and still get to work the next day? You're saying wage increases equate to 'just giving' money to landlords and utilities companies. You can only say that by utterly erasing any interest in the people who are primarily affected by this, who would BUY rent and power with the money that they should be PAID for their labor. Shame on you.

It's actually a great advantage of the $15 plan that the raise is significant enough that it will take *some* over the poverty line far enough to provide some discretionary. This has strong potential to stimulate the local economy while lifting those who are worst off into a liveable situation.
@ 45 where exactly are these people getting thrown out of their houses and being forced to go to the food bank because of evil local businesses wanting to stay competitive and pay workers what they are worth? I really want to know, what you call poverty I'm willing to bet people in El Salvador or even parts of Mississippi would consider a very decent life. I don't understand how I can commute to Bellevue for twelve dollars an hour, be in school part time with zero financial aid, have type 1 diabetes,which isn't cheap even with my employers fancy insurance, go to the bar a couple of times a week and go fishing or to a show every now and then and pay rent and my bills just fine but others can't? Where are these people? I'm all for everyone having an awesome quality of life but if this is done quickly rather than properly it will slow the microeconomic growth of Seattle substantially, what about my pals that work part time for 10. bucks an hour and are happy to do so because they are teaching swim lessons and can be flexible with their schedule? What about the start ups that will go elsewhere because Seattle isn't viable because of these ultra Keynesian ideas that are in fact very counterproductive to growth? What about the not for profits that need people with high skill sets to show up and work for minimum wage so they have gas and lunch money to do so because they're retired and on fixed income and cannot afford to do it for free? Do they not count?
@45 Oh and way to stay classy with your have a shit medal comment, I hope you have a nice day.
@45 the $15 NOW crowd want it both ways. The say people need to be brought out of poverty & then the next minute they say how great it's going to be for business as people have all this discretionary $ to spend on small businesses. So which is it? Nothing illustrates this better than their opposition to tips counting as wages. The majority of Seattle servers make $15+/hr, and pls don't use the Seatac figure of $14.14 being the avg. because that factors in areas outside of Seattle and it is the area affected by the minimum wage increase we are talking about. So as I said the majority of Seattle servers make over $15, and yet still $15 NOW wants no tip credit even though it will costs more jobs & cause inflation. If anywhere in their ideology they care about minimizing negative impact this is not the way to do, in fact it is the opposite especially for non profits & nursing homes (some of our most vulnerable). By fighting against total compensation it shows their goal isn't income inequality, but wage & class inequality they are against, aka socialism aka Sawant pushing her own agenda by way of a catchy slogan, who cares if the people serviced by Meals on Wheels get screwed. I don't see her calling for any increased taxes on the wealthy to go to social services and non profits who are gonna be hurt by this. Of course not because raising taxes is not politically popular.
All other municipalities and counties in the US of A:take note! ;D --- , .
I really hope the 15 Now people win. First Seattle, then Portland and on from there. Anyone with a high school education can see it makes sense. When working people earn more, they spend more, local businesses benefit. PERIOD.

The majority of the people opposed to this are middle-aged trustafundarians horrified at the prospect of having to pay one dollar more for their fucking cappuccinos at Starcraps and two bucks more for bar food at Oddfellows. None of them have what they keep braying everyone else should get: real jobs. Their money is comprised mostly of "passive income" like leasing rentals or stock investments.

It's the 1-Percenters who should all go get REAL JOBS. Blow $130/month to take an hour long bus ride to and from work every day while making $9.15/hr!!! Watch your rent rise every year. Make visits to the food bank a weekly event. Then cry me a fucking river.
I am one of the majority of Seattle opposed to an arbitrary 60% increase of the minimum wage.

I am not a middle age trustafundarian. I paid my own way through undergrad and grad school in the 2000's on minimum wage and loans. I don't shop at starbucks so I am not horrified at paying more. I have a real job and a real business, both of which will be affected negatively by an arbitrary and baseless 60% increase to the minimum wage.

I am not a republican, and actually I support a wage increase, just not arbitrarily and not 60%.

15 NOW is just the Occupy folks out being ridiculous again. One doesn't have to be a rube to note that. It's objectively what is happening.

Wall Street was not shut down, nor will there be a $15 minimum wage in Seattle this year. Seattle will not be duped.

Increase the minimum wage, just not to an arbitrary number because it sounds good. And seriously people, lay off the generalizations about the majority of Seattle who oppose this 15 Now BS. You sound ridiculous when you call all of us middle age trustfundarians, whatever that is, or right wingers or whatever. Your dead wrong. People of all walks oppose such an arbitrary move.
I bet collectivism_sucks is a "White" "man" who grew up being told "White" "men" did everything good,and everybody else is a fucking moocher.