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September 10, 2013 at 6:28 PM
The Times’ recent editorial on the SeaTac petitions issue was surprising, saying that, in the case of duplicate signatures, one of them should be counted. [“Too many signatures weeded out in SeaTac,” Opinion, Sept. 6.]
I thought the message was clear: Go ahead and try to cheat. If you’re not caught, your multiple signatures will be counted. If you are caught, one signature will still be counted and there will be no repercussions.
Bob Vos, Auburn
August 28, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Perspective over time
I would like to provide some perspective in the discussion regarding the minimum-wage issue. [“SeaTac’s $15 wage initiative draws big money, attention,” NW Friday, Aug. 23.]
In 1966, I was released from military service and started my career as an architect in training, in Norfolk, Va. I was paid $3 per hour. I had a wife, two kids, two cars, life insurance, money in the bank and vacation time. At that time, the federal minimum wage was $1.25 per hour.
As we all know, the cost of living has increased nearly tenfold in the intervening 47 years. However, if we take ten times as a mean increase, that would put the $3 salary at $30 per hour, and the corresponding minimum wage at $12.50.
The current professional salary is close to this increase; the minimum wage is not. The $15 hourly wage being requested is reasonable.
Employers say this will ruin their business. That is highly unlikely, since employees would then have the money to purchase their employers’ products.
John Wade, Bainbridge Island
July 30, 2013 at 6:24 AM
Minimum wage for entry levels
Does the Rev. Dick Gillet really know what the minimum wage, is really all about? [“Northwest Voices: Minimum wage debated in SeaTac,” Opinion, July 29.]
Maybe he needs to take a look at how it all came about, because it was not for a living wage, but a beginning in the work world or entry level in a company.
In most cases, the minimum wage was for those who did not have any experience and needed to gain this by working, usually in the food-service industry.
For those who make $9.50 an hour as baggage handlers, this is the low end, those who are just starting out in that career. Most workers don’t see this as a career, but if they do, they will continue to rise to higher levels as baggage handlers. Or they will move on to other fields in the airline industry.
To raise the minimum wage at SeaTac to $15 an hour, including for restaurants, is ludicrous. They will raise their prices for the food, you can bet on it.
Is this just another ploy for the Port of Seattle to raise the rent on those who are renting space for their services? It sounds pretty fishy.
Patsy Gee, Federal Way
I found it ironic that certain articles were juxtaposed on Sunday: “Boeing, Boeing gone: More work to land elsewhere,” right above “Vote set for $15 minimum wage.” [“News of Note,” News, July 28.]
Actions speak louder than words when businesses look to relocate to a business-friendly labor market.
Mike Luiten, Bellevue
July 28, 2013 at 7:54 AM
Vital issues deserving attention
Two stories in The Times, on minimum wage [“$15 minimum wage?”, page one, July 25] and striking farmworkers [“Striking farmworkers say Sakuma threatened eviction from housing,” Northwest Thursday, July 25], place two issues where they belong, front and center.
Both are important issues: the distinction between a minimum and a living wage, and the increasing gap between the shares of labor and capital in our economy.
With no standard of “maximum salary” parallel to “minimum wage” and little regulatory constraint on profits or on tax loopholes, the cards are now stacked to management’s and ownership’s benefit.
Income and perhaps wealth-distribution gaps are wider during the current “recovery” than they have been since the 1920s. It’s widely acceptable to attack unions, while corporate profits far outstrip job growth, especially factoring in part-time and multitasking labor.
The economist quoted said people are beginning to ask, rightly, “is there a fair distribution between profits and wages?”
I ask, what is outrageous about a $15 living wage around SeaTac or $4.75 per box of berries in county farms, when wages are so compressed compared with salaries and profits?
The specific features of airport, farm labor and other work environments, and private-public-sector distinctions, call for varied approaches and solutions. But the principle of negotiating the terms should prevail, recognizing labor’s legitimacy as well as “the other sides,” with the largest and longest term equitable public good as a goal.
Milt Krieger, Bellingham
Minimum wage is not a living wage
As one of a number of faith leader, both Christian and Muslim, at the first city of SeaTac hearing on the proposed Good Jobs Initiative on July 16, I was struck at how few of those who spoke understood the realities of working poverty that are growing like a cancer in this country.
A wage of $9.50 an hour — earned by airport baggage handlers — clearly requires a second or maybe even third job just to pay the rent, and even then children may not have healthy or sufficient food. Think of the terrible strain on a family in such straits!
And even if the initiative of $15 an hour is approved, that still translates to about $2,400 a month (assuming a 40-hour workweek). The Economic Policy Institute’s “Family Wage Calculator,” specific to the Seattle and Tacoma areas, calculates a monthly income (rent, food, health care, transportation) for a family of one parent and one child at about $4,300. That is how far out of whack the inequalities of wealth and poverty have become.
Finally, it needs to be noted that retail stores with fewer than 10 workers, hotels with fewer than 30 workers, and other airport businesses with fewer than 25 workers are all exempt from this initiative.
Rev. Dick Gillet, Seattle
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