Columnist David Brooks states in his column that “ … the majority of workers are not seeing income gains commensurate with their productivity levels.” [“Capitalism for the masses,” Opinion, Feb. 22]. He also states that “ … Republicans need to declare a truce on the social safety net.” So far, so good. However, then…More
Topic: Minimum Wage
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Danny Westneat made a grave error in his column on the $15 minimum-wage campaign [“Minimum-wage proposal a $15 paradox for the poor,” Local News, Feb. 25]. He implied that so far no one has mentioned taxes in this debate. Surely he must know that Kshama Sawant’s campaign for City Council had a two-pronged platform:…More
Danny Westneat’s column “A do-gooder tells why $15 wage is a bad idea” [“Local News, Feb. 22] was spot on. Seattle politicians’ willingness, it seems, to go “round the progressive bend” despite unknown consequences is distressing. This is where they believe the votes to be, however, and they’re probably right (witness Richard Conlin’s defeat). But…More
For years, I owned and operated two small fast-food restaurants. Each year when the minimum wage increased, I had to raise my prices to offset the higher wage cost ["Stop insulting minimum-wage workers, Opinion, Feb. 18]. Controlling the costs from wages is extremely crucial to every small business. And, with every wage increase to those earning…More
The raging debates in Seattle and SeaTac on raising the minimum wage highlight the downsides of current policy — workers coming in to take low-skilled jobs while pushing out those who need them the most; the failure to include the airport in the SeaTac wage hike — but also raise the question of where we…More
A letter to The Times by Tom Franklin citing economic price theory was right on target [“Economics do not support a $15 minimum wage increase,” Northwest Voices, Jan. 29], so I wanted to reiterate it and emphasize a key point. Part of the problem we are trying to resolve is how to help the…More
The article estimating the cost of paying a minimum wage of $15 an hour to city workers at $1 million [“$1M price tag tied to paying Seattle city workers $15/hr,” Local News, Jan. 28] lacked an important thing: the proportion of that figure to the total city budget. According to the City Budget Office’s…More
In November, voters in SeaTac approved a $15 minimum wage for airport-related work and now activists are taking that fight to Seattle. The issue is gaining national traction as well, with Obama pushing for a federal minimum wage of $10.10 in his State of the Union speech last night. Seattle Times readers debate the merits and downsides of raising the minimum wage to $15 in Seattle:
My small business would also be adversely affected
Thank you Judith Gille for stating so eloquently an important point that is being missed in the $15 an hour minimum wage discussion: the unintended consequences to small businesses like hers and mine, local businesses that make Seattle a special place to live [“A neighborhood business can’t support a $15 minimum wage,” Opinion, Jan. 27].
I have written to the mayor and the City Council expressing my concerns that a sudden and dramatic increase in what is already the biggest cost for most small businesses could be disabling. Large corporations with Seattle storefronts already enjoy many advantages due to their tremendous buying power and greater access to capital. Those advantages would allow them to absorb more easily this kind of dramatic change. It is small businesses that would be the most affected.
I don’t think you will find a small Seattle employer who does not support living wages because so many of us work long hours for very low pay, and so many of us have missed paychecks so that our employees and our businesses could keep moving forward. The $15 an hour minimum wage movement is grounded in good intentions, but the reality of the impact this kind of sudden change would have on small business has not been thoroughly considered.
Judy Neldam, owner of Grateful Bread
Small businesses have nothing to fear
I don’t think small businesses would have to worry about a shortage of good employees if the minimum wage were raised to $15.
Look at the economy: Our city’s unemployment rate is still above 5 percent, and even college graduates (such as guest columnist Sandi Halimuddin) are struggling to find full-time work.More
Regarding Seattle’s coming minimum wage, the haggling and foot dragging have begun [“Mayor-elect seeks wage-issue consensus,” NWFriday, Dec. 20). The issue should be dealt with in two phases:
She won’t know the consequences until she owns a business herself
If Councilmember elect Kshama Sawant wants to have any credibility in her argument for a $15 minimum wage I think there is one thing she needs to do first [“$15 wage efforts gaining steam in Seattle,” page one, Dec. 18]. She needs to buy a fast food franchise and run it herself.
She would of course pay her employees a minimum wage of $15 with health benefits and sick leave. Also, she would find out that she has to be competitive in her pricing of her product. You can’t just raise your prices higher than your competition and hope customers would still walk through your door.