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September 22, 2013 at 8:02 AM
Event staff deserve more
I love the city of Seattle and value the many public events that provide enrichment for the city. I have joyfully attended many of these events.
It came as quite a shock to me when, instead of joining in the fun, I was participating in these events as an employee.
The large venues in Seattle contract work with event-staffing companies. The staffing companies demand a high price to supply people, then pay those people a pittance and disrespect them along the way.
This is important because every person who pays to attend large events has a say in where that money goes. Right now, it’s going to companies that take advantage of people who are desperate for employment.
These are the people who are willing to work a lot for small pay. But small pay is made even more insulting when the companies treat people like dirt.
As a ticket purchaser, you are making that event possible. Please take that power and put it to good use. Ask venues to demand better wages and treatment for the workers who ensure that the events are safe and everyone attending them is having a good time.
Natalie Boydstun, Seattle
Small businesses can’t afford it
I am a small-time retail-store owner.
I wish that I could afford an employee, but I can’t. Retail customers are a lot like grapes: They come in bunches. That is the time when an extra employee would be beneficial.
During slow times, employees — and all the costs associated with them — have to be paid for by the business owner(s), even though there is little income.
I don’t think that those who want a higher wage can fully appreciate the fine line there is in them even having a job at all.
Marty McNett, owner of Marty’s Paints, Burlington
August 25, 2013 at 7:48 AM
Consider the source
As people read the recent guest column by Michael Saltsman, they should recognize the real agenda of ‘fiscally-conservative’ think tanks like the Employment Policies Institute, which is to preserve profitability on the backs of those who can’t help themselves. [“Sick-leave pay not a cure-all,” Opinion, Aug. 20.]
This same organization opposes the minimum wage and advises against increasing it. Use all the economics you want to confuse people, but I grew up in a society whose values included helping those who need it — a “hand up,” not a handout. In today’s world, that makes me a socialist wacko liberal, but I’m proud of it.
Steve Hawley, Issaquah
Sick-leave helps people
No one wants to be served by a sick waiter. No sick child should languish in the school nurse’s office because their parent can’t leave work.
Now, a year after Seattle’s sick-leave law went into effect, we can be confident that workers in our city at least have the option of staying home when the flu strikes.
Michael Saltsman’s swipe at Seattle’s law cites a survey of selected businesses, about one-third of whom believed sick leave would increase future costs. But he provides no evidence that it actually does.
The New York Times has described the Employment Policies Institute that did the survey as a “business-backed nonprofit that … argues against a higher minimum wage,” whose industry donors include chain restaurants.
It’s too early to have good data on the impacts of the sick-leave law on jobs and public health. Meanwhile, Seattle’s economy is the best in the state, and workers having reliable family income can only help.
Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, Seattle
July 23, 2013 at 7:09 AM
There are other underpaid people out there
Mayor Mike McGinn expressed concern about the $16 hourly wage at Whole Foods, while most teachers and child-care workers in the city earn much less than that. [“McGinn goes all out on Whole Foods,” NW Sunday, July 21.]
Mayor McGinn, are you saying that people who work with food deserve to make more than people that work with young children at the most crucial time in their development?
While the city of Seattle has been a tremendous leader nationally in supporting young children and families, especially those in poverty, the average child-care wage is closer to $10 an hour. The city contracts with child-care centers through their levy-funded early-learning program, in which teachers have no health-care benefits at all.
When child-care staff members live in poverty, so do the children they serve! Talk about a social justice and equity issue.
I would suggest that the mayor look closer in his own back yard. While I know it is complicated, I have never understood why the city wouldn’t take a more active role in improving the quality of life for child-care workers, especially regarding health care and salaries.
Ilene Stark, Seattle
July 20, 2013 at 8:07 AM
Medicare for all
Froma Harrop is so right about a “Medicare for all” health plan. [“Column: Curse of the full-time job,” Opinion, July 16.]
Employers would be free to allow job-sharing, employees could choose part-time work, and a huge cause of labor strife would disappear.
Anne Thureson, Seattle
June 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Couples need options for working less hours
Our society has changed from most women being homemakers, to most women being wage-earners outside the home.
Children and marriages have suffered through this transition. It’s time we make the next transition, with parents sharing the homemaking and wage-earning to best benefit the children and marriage.
The only way we can do that is by making it economically feasible to work fewer hours, especially for couples with young children.
Let’s give couples a better choice with a greater tax deduction or earned income credit for child care, regardless of whether it’s given at home or in a child-care center.
More parents at home will free up hours for the unemployed. With job sharing and flexibility incentives by the government, we as a society will all be better off.
Ruth Knagenhjelm, Normandy Park
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