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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

May 29, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Business rep on Murray’s $15 minimum-wage panel blasts process as ‘charade’

A business owner who participated in Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s $15 minimum wage panel is now blasting the process as a “charade.”

David Meinert, who owns several Seattle restaurants and bars, was a member of Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee. That panel of business and labor representatives met for months to try to craft a compromise plan raising Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour while offering a phase-in and protections for smaller businesses.

But Meinert says he feels betrayed by the process because the proposal business owners agreed to was not the same plan now being debated by the City Council. A longtime player in local politics, Meinert is prone to the occasional social media rant, and he unloaded on Murray’s $15 an hour plan in a Facebook post Wednesday night.

Meinert wrote:

As representatives of business I entered into this in good faith, agreeing we needed to act.

Recently Mayor Murray announced a deal from the committee, said to be a compromise, claiming it would meet his goal of avoiding a costly battle at the ballot box. Much credit was given for a collaborative process that brought business together with non-profits and labor unions to craft a near consensus compromise. All nice, except none of this is true.

In fact, the process was a charade. And in the end, business isn’t supporting it, and $15Now is running their initiative. So if success was broad support and no initiative, this is a failure.

Meinert complained the “messy” proposal contains four different minimum-wage phase-ins depending on business size, lacked a workable “tip credit” for restaurants and other exemptions for “micro businesses and nonprofits.”

Murray responded via a statement emailed by his spokesman: “I’ve heard consistently from Dave in emails and in conversation that the process was a good one, so I’m surprised.”

Meinert’s tirade came on the eve of today’sĀ Seattle City Council committee meeting at which the council considered amendments to the plan, and voted to delay the start of the $15 minimum wage law by three months.

Comments | More in Politics Northwest, Seattle City Council | Topics: $15 minimum wage, Dave Meinert, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

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