The Sunday Morning News


More than 400 at the $15 Now Now Now! Rally? They walked passed my place, I saw maybe 200, not even 1/4 of a block. St Paddy's day had roughly 20,000 people.


Green beer.
Here's a pretty horrible story of an attack on a sleeping homeless man in Pioneer Square the other night. The attackers were drunk firefighters and a companion.

The firefighter was with another off-duty firefighter and a woman when they came across the homeless man sleeping on a memorial near First Avenue South and South Main Street, officials said.

Police said witnesses told them that the woman yelled at the man for sleeping on the memorial, then kicked him. One of her companions then reportedly picked up a stick and started hitting the man, and her other companion joined in. The homeless man got up and stabbed one of the men with a knife, police said.…
400 people turned out for the $15 Now rally out of a Seattle Metro population of 3.5 million - that's 1/100 of 1 percent of the people living around here. I got more folks to show up at my last garage sale, sadly.

But how many of the more than 400 people (yeah, sure) who showed up at your last garage sale went out of their way to go to and then spend several hours at your garage sale?

Also, by "Seattle Metro," I assume you mean the Seattle area? While there is surely interest in the surrounding area in the minimum wage fight, just as in Seattle we are interested in what's going on with Seatac's wage, using the regional population to talk about attendance at a rally for a city law sure seems deceptive and manipulative.
"big businesses ALL pay $15/hr by Jan 1st, no tip penalty, no 'total comp', no teen wages," and for "small businesses and human services [it] should be phased in OVER 3 YEARS, starting $11/hr."

...and Sawant is already starting to propose means testing. She is negotiating against herself because she has zero leverage against business interests in this city. I voted for Ms. Sawant, but she still needs to learn a thing or two about coalition building.

Her obsessive need to play the angry voice of the proletariat all the time will certainly attract a small and vocal following, but ask Ron Paul or Lyndon LaRouche has well that has gone.
@5, ok let's stick with the city of of the 635,000 people living here, 634,600 did not show up for the rally. If only 6/100 of 1% of the population shows up to support a cause, it hardly seems worth reporting.
That's assuming 400+ people were there and I saw the march. It was tiny. It didn't even fill up that small plaza at SCCC. So the garage sale comparison is apt, but more apt is the 20,000 plus who came for St Paddy's. That's why Sawant is negotiating from herself, this is a fart of a movement.
A lot of small businesses are going to have to raise wages to $15/hour in order to compete with big businesses for good employees. It's not much of a compromise.
Roid rage again. We need to be drug testing, and not just the cops.
@9) I'd say it's quite a significant compromise considering there are still no counter-proposals from business big or small.

The phase-in has been an important issue for a lot of people concerned with the continued tenability of small businesses and Sawant has now answered those concerns. This seems an important gesture toward the small business community and their customers.

If some small employers find it advantageous to voluntarily raise their wage floor to $15 ahead of the phase-in, well that is all the better for workers.
@9: A lot of small business would love to do that, but some (a few, a bunch, or a lot) will not be able to meet a ~60% payroll hike (especially for narrow profit margin businesses - e.g. restaurants) and therefore close their doors.
The $15 wage will only work for business that can afford it. They all can't "afford it" by because we want them to.

$10 or $12 an hour, well you increase the likelihood of success.

First, seattle stranger says go to the rally then doesn't even report on it or what the proposal is? Second, the Chen story doesn't say the key part of the proposal, how do you define small business? ten employees? 50? revenues over $500K? over $1 million? WHAT? Third, this proposal screws workers at small employers and nonprofits. Why? their labor is worth as much as those at large employers or for profits! the nonprofit Gates foundation and nonprofit hospitals with hundreds of low wage workers will be exempt! A small business could be a dentist, a lawyer, or a restaurant owner with one location and 8 employees who has profits of $500K a year -- totally able to pay, too! the business might fire people to get into the exemption. the REASON for the min wage is the worker is producing value worth $15. If you are working as a checker at a tiny yuppie grocery why in HELL should you get less than someone at safeway? You're working in the tiny volvo repair shop on Roosevelt, why do you get less than your sister working at a jiffy lube?
$4 an hour less ?
fifth, it's very complex to count employees. what if the business fires people, or decides to shift your hours to the outside of seattle location part time, or take a medium sized business. Say, it's a real estate company with 15 employees, managing rentals. for a fee. they're just over the "small business exemption" whether based on employee number or revenue or whatnot. hello, all they have to do is split the company into two, or three, based on geography or internally (you take the accounting and financial functions and split them from the repair and leasing functions and have the latter pay a "management fee" to the former.") corporations do this all the time. any business can manipulate any exemption so much it's silly to have them. and is it permanent? if eventually small business catches up, we're going to write a whole bunch of unenforceable rules for a few years for what, so small business employees can get screwed? look we do have the votes to pass it across the board, with a shorter phase in than 2018, too, why is Sawant pushing a minimum wage with swiss cheese type loopholes?
@13) I'm also confused by Slog's post-rally silence.

As to your point about a "swiss cheese" proposal, my impression is that the lack of a phase-in was a stumbling block to many would-be supporters. From Goldy's report on a recent poll: "A three-year phase-in does bump up support to 73 percent [from 68 percent], but stretch the phase-in to five years, and both overall support (67 percent) and intensity (28 percent "strongly") begin to erode."

But are you saying that additional support was not significant? That she should have banked on the 68% and gone ahead with no phase-in? Do you think that 68% would hold fast against the onslaught of corporate-funded advertising that is surely around the corner?

@10) "Roid rage"?
Don't miss clicking on the images in the Bertha article that, it's quite amazing!
Re: the building shown in the march photo,…
LaRouche is a psychopath who has no support outside of his cult and is even crazier than Sawant. Ron Paul, on the other hand, has been vastly influential, woke up an entire generation of young libertarians and had a lot of bipartisan support for things like auditing the fed.
He didn't win, but neither did Barry Goldwater. But both changed the political landscape.
@14 - yes to phase in, no to swiss cheese. $10.50 now, then 12.50 in 2014 then 15 in 2015. the politics of it -- is why are we doing it. we're doing it because since 1968 the MW dropped in real terms and the price and productivity adjustments require it be at 15 or 16. so a swiss cheese proposal lets part of the workforce, ten percent? 30%? who knows? be exploited. that's not good politics! also it's unjust.
Swiss cheese exemptions and concessions also don't buy you "no onslaught against the proposal" since that happens anyway. but with 68 or 73%, we will win if it's across the board. a proposal that lets some be exploited isn't a winner. as I say, business of ANY size should pay it, Providence hospital should pay it! and business will exploit a small business loophole by changing into small business. all it takes is 20 hours of lawyer time and accounting time and BOOM! the restaurant chain locally owned with ten locations turns into ten different corporations, or 20, no problem. or you are at 15 employees, the threshold is ten, so you FIRE four and take on independent contractors for the bookkepping or cleaning or what not! loopholes mainly exist in laws at the request of business so that business can exploit and enlarge them -- each one is a hole for a nose of a huge camel. no loopholes!
"I'm also confused by Slog's post-rally silence."

Because it was tiny despite Holden pretending it was "400 plus" people and the $15 now folks ludicrously claiming 750. I saw the march go past my place - 200 people, maybe 300 max. Barely filled a 1/4 a block and when I drove past SCCC while the rally was on they didn't even fill the tiny plaza. You could have driven a SUV through the gaps.

The weather was nice, no rain and yet St Paddy's pulled in 20,000 viewers PLUS folks in the parade.

Green beer won the day. $15 Now! now! now! is a fart in the wind.
The problem, aside with the overall issue of this being government setting the price on something (labor) is that what Sawant considers a "small business" is not what most consider to be a "small business."
I am sure a larger restaurant in Seattle, that only has a 5% profit margin, will still be considered a "big business" by her and her cronies and be hit with a 60% labor increase.
Also, she is against a tip credit. I work for tips, have for 15 years, and I want a tip credit. 15/hour is not higher than the 18-40/hour I make now working for tips. If we had no tip credit people would tip less and I would make less money.
@14, @13

The lack of reporting is depressingly easy to explain: The Stranger's advertising revenue comes almost entirely from local businesses.

There won't be any "big"/"small" split in whatever legislation gets hammered out, of course; we can't even draw the line in casual conversation, let alone in a document that hews to our existing laws. Sawant has conceded the phase-in; that was apparently the purpose of the rally.
are you reporting your entire tip income? is your employer reporting it as revenue? is he paying b and o tax and l and I on your entire tip income? here's how we can agree to give you tip credit: put it on the books, and pay it as wages! more money in taxes the rest of us don't have to pay for you, more money in your SS earnings the rest of us don't have to subsidize, and your business complies with the min wage law, and you don't have to make all that change giving back singles so folks can tip. finally, people can't undertip you! win win for all. There. How you like them apples? stop tipping, put tips on the books, and you can have your tip credit for the MW and join the rest of the non off the books workforce.
@22 - What really is depressing are those that feel that, given the choice of profit or no profit, prefer the latter to accommodate their socioeconomic views - whether it be a restaurant, boutique, or newspaper.

It's like purposely driving off the cliff because the view is better!

At a larger Seattle restaurant, the owner would not be a chef/owner, but rather a largely absentee owner, doing at most 10 hours of work a week of executive management (the GM, chef, and accountant would take care of most of the operations management). And at 5% profit, that absentee owner would be netting comfortably over $100k/yr (average daily sales over $2750).

Which works out to an equivalent wage of $192/hr.

All well and good, in a system that rewards capital investment, but let's be very frank about what we're advocating, when we wrangle over the concerns of local business owners like Linda Derschang, Ethan Stowell, or Dave Meinart (all multi-location restauranteurs, true, but the math will be similar).

BTW, when businesses point to slim profit margins in debates like this, the numbers they present are almost always after interest, tax, and amortization; the equivalents of which are *not* typically included in individual income figures. For this reason, I've used 10% margin in place of the original 5% suggested, to make it comparable to gross individual income (an employee's $15 per hour will be before taxes, loan interest payments, and durable goods replacement).
It is sounding like Ukraine will go to war with Russia. I can't imagine any good scenario coming out of this.
Yep. All 20 or so usual suspects from the 6 Marxist parites were there. A couple of the token labor council people were there. The rest were between the ages of 17 and 23 it appeared, probably SCCC students and Slog readers. Not very impressive. People elected Sawant to legislate, not build a Leninist Movement. She needs to offer legislation or get off the pot.
"At a larger Seattle restaurant, the owner would not be a chef/owner, but rather a largely absentee owner, doing at most 10 hours of work a week"

Are you fucking kidding? You think restaurant owners work 10 hours a week.? Man, the stupidity of leftists is astounding.

Just an FYI I know three restaurant owners. One typically does 80 hr weeks, the other 60. The last one? closed to 90 hours.

Are they going to start calling it "$15 Eventually!" instead of the angrier "Now!"?
Interesting -- or actually depressing -- that when Sawant is seen as refusing to compromise, she's villified, and now when she's compromising for small businesses who might be hurt, she's still villified.
I've been in the restaurant business for 15 years, and I've NEVER seen or even heard of an "absentee owner". They're usually the ones doing all the paper work, the contracts, the taxes, the accounting etc. Even if the office they use is off site, that is irrelevant.

Your average restaurant owner works maybe 40-50 hours a week, much longer and harder than servers.
Okay, so you propose that they cut taxes for all the businesses in Seattle to make up for the losses?

No matter how you do the math, at a 5% profit margin a 60% increase in labor isn't going to work.

You've been in the restaurant business for 15 years, and you've never worked at a large restaurant?

That's what we're talking about here, right? A larger restaurant, not an average restaurant? One that might be in danger of falling under the big business rules, as you suggest in comment @21?

I'm sure the owner of, say, 6 to 10 restaurants -- you know, someone like Linda Derschang, Ethan Stowell, or Dave Meinart -- is working 30-40 hours a week. But they're also benefiting from four times the sales, and thus four times the profit, of the owner of a single restaurant the size of, say, Ray's Boathouse, Elliott's Oyster House, or Salty's (though all of those are also owned by people who own multiple restaurants. Curiously enough).


Unless you have hard numbers showing that the price increases will drive down traffic to the point where total sales remain unchanged, you've got no better idea than anyone else as to whether it "isn't going to work." I'm sure there will be some decline in traffic due to the higher prices, but I'm also pretty certain total sales will go up-- my sense is that a fairly large proportion of Seattle's restaurantgoers are not particularly price-sensitive.
I miss Slog Bible study.
"I'm sure the owner of, say, 6 to 10 restaurants -- you know, someone like Linda Derschang, Ethan Stowell, or Dave Meinart -- is working 30-40 hours a week. "

"At a larger Seattle restaurant, the owner would not be a chef/owner, but rather a largely absentee owner, doing at most 10 hours of work a week"

So which one is it?
@34) Discuss.

I believe "roid rage" was a response to my post @3 about the firefighters who beat up the homeless guy.

I think it's less roid rage than drunken assholes, though. I guess women can take steroids, too, but we hear about that less, and it was the woman companion of the two firefighters who started it by kicking the man.

Regarding the Slog silence, I suspect the lack of coverage Saturday has more to do with disarray in the newsroom or just understaffing.

And if we're going to be honest about where our numbers are coming from, let's take a look at that "60%" increase in labor costs you're talking about.

Floor staff and dishwashers make minimum, but management already makes more than $15, so their cost will be forced up by 0% by the law, and line cooks make around $12.50 these days, so their pay will be going up about 20%. Washington's minimum wage is $9.32; an increase to $15 from that is 61%.

Now let's assume that, unlike the IRS, the new law will not treat declared tip income as actual income (which is goofy, but seems to be Sawant's position, so we go with it). Let's also assume that the restaurant has about one line cook for every four minimum wage earners (floor crew plus dishwashers). Hourly cost now goes from an average of 10.45 to 15, an increase of 43% .

In a typical small restaurant, hourly/non-management labor is usually around 20-25% of total operating expense (it's lower for larger restauarants). If we assume the high end (and we should, as lots of smaller restaurants don't manage their labor costs as well as successful restaurants), then our sudden hike in labor cost has increased total operating cost for the business by 0.43 * 25%, or 11%.

We'll have to pass that on to customers, and we'll have to assume that price increases will reduce traffic somewhat, so we'll need to raise prices by more than our cost increase; realistically, our business now has to hike prices by...

about 15%

A number that ought to be pretty easy to remember, don't you think?
There's a story in the SF Chronicle about widespread support there for a $15 minimum wage.…
why do we only imagine the quirky small business? the lovable one? there are far more auto repair shops, lawyers, dentists, DOCTORS, accountants, professionals, owners of foot pain clinics who rake it in at #500K a year, there are thousands and thousands of things called small business. a massge person with one assistant doing the books is a small business. maybe that assistant is part time, cleans up, does a little paperwork.

why should a single employee of ANY business get less for the SAME work based on discrimination founded on the SIZE of the business? or its non profit status? you think the worker needs less food or rent or health care if they are at a small place, not a place with just one employee over the limit, whatever that is going to be?

the polls show widespread support for $15 across the board. the election Sawant ran said $15 minimum wage. not "minimum wage for some only." do the phase in, don't do the swiss cheese exemptions.
@40 I'll tell you why, I hire two types of workers. Those with skills in my industry get $12-15/hr depending on skill sets. Those with no skills, but are keen to learn and are reliable (which, btw, is pretty rare) get $10/hr. Now I have a email box with at least 20 folks who want to work with me and have skills, probably 50 which no skills but eager to learn.

Now guess who I won't be hiring when you raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour?
I've worked at big restaurants, small restaurants etc and I've NEVER seen an owner who just kicks back and works 10 hours a week. No such creature exists on Earth.

And yes, there are restaurant owners with three or more restaurants...and that means triple the overheard, but the same profit margins for each restaurant.

I have no idea where Seattle liberal idiots get this notion that restaurant owners are the Monopoly Man. But then again, these are the same morons who think socialism is a great idea. Yep, Greece did well electing socialists, now didn't they?

The sooner I move to Texas, the better.
@42: The sooner you move to Texas, the better.