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Archive for 'Councilmember Licata'

UP #385 – Final Urban Politics from City Hall. But the show goes on!

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future. I’ve decided to continue writing Urban Politics and keeping its intent and format roughly the same. However, it will obviously no longer be hosted at city hall. For that reason, […]

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Council Adopts First-of-its-Kind Legislation to Give Drivers a Voice on the Job

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/14/2015

Council Adopts First-of-its-Kind Legislation
to Give Drivers a Voice on the Job

SEATTLE – City Council unanimously adopted legislation today that will give eligible drivers at taxi, for-hire, and transportation network companies (“TNCs”, e.g., Uber, Lyft) a voice on the job and the opportunity to negotiate for improved working conditions at their companies.  The bill, co-sponsored by Councilmember Mike O’Brien and Councilmember Nick Licata, will create a process whereby a majority of independently contracted drivers working for the same company could choose to join a Driver Representative Organization to negotiate the pay rates and conditions of their employment.

“We’ve heard from Seattle drivers making sub-minimum wage, and companies like Uber have turned a deaf ear to their concerns. This bill was only introduced out of necessity after witnessing how little power drivers themselves had in working for a living wage,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “This is groundbreaking legislation and I am proud Seattle is continuing to lead the nation in advancing labor standards for our workers.”

These drivers are considered independent contractors and, as such, are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act that provides for collective bargaining between employers and unions representing employees. Independent contractors are also excluded from a host of labor standards other workers have, such as minimum wage and hour laws, health and safety standards on the job, or reimbursements for workplace related costs. Over the past few years, Seattle has implemented ordinances to raise local labor standards that these drivers are exempt from, including the new minimum wage, paid sick and safe leave, wage theft, and fair chance employment. This legislation gives drivers a chance to address these issues in their industry.

In addition to setting the framework which provides a majority of drivers the option to join a Driver Representative organization, the legislation also establishes penalties for failure to comply with the new framework, including interest arbitration and the possibility of fines.

For more information on the legislation, refer to this page on Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s website: http://www.seattle.gov/council/issues/VoiceForDrivers/.

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Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21, HD Channels 321 Comcast, 721 Wave and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Council Approves 2016 City Budget

On the Monday the Council approved the 2016 City of Seattle budget. As Chair of the Council’s Budget Committee, I was responsible for assembling a balancing package for consideration by the City Council. The budget passed by the Council focuses on urgent, immediate needs. I believe that when more people have a chance to reach […]

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Councilmember Licata: City Budget Increases Funding for Homeless in Response to Federal Cutbacks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/23/2015

Councilmember Licata: City Budget Increases Funding for Homeless in Response to Federal Cutbacks

Federal Response Needed for Emergency

SEATTLECouncilmember Nick Licata, chair of the Budget Committee, released the following statement after the Budget Committee sent a 2016 Budget to the Full Council:

“As my 18 years in office come to an end, I’ve reflected on how funding for human services has changed in Seattle.  I compared the first budget I voted for in 1999 to the 2016 budget approved by the Budget Committee today. Here’s what I found:

  • Federal human services grants to Seattle have decreased from $46.5 million to $37.9 million, a decrease of 43%, adjusted for inflation
  • Federal grants have shrunk from 62% to 26% of the City’s Human Services budget, a 58% decrease
  • The City’s General Fund contribution to the Human Services budget has more than doubled, from 25% to 55%
  • The percent of the City’s General Fund dedicated to human services has doubled, from 3.5% to 7%.

“This increasing reliance on the city’s general fund is a direct result of federal neglect.

“These figures place in stark relief the impact of years of the federal government’s retreat. The needs have not gone away–they have simply been shifted onto cities. Mayor Murray’s declaration of a homeless emergency, and the emergency declared in Portland, have been building for years. Cities cannot solve this emergency alone: federal assistance is needed.

“Homelessness in Seattle is at a crisis level. The Council’s  addition of $2.3 million in one-time funding, not only to expand shelter beds to get people off the street, but to fund new beds, extend day center services and outreach services to vulnerable homeless adults, support authorized encampments, and childcare for homeless children — come in appropriations beyond the $5 million in one-time funds announced earlier this month. 

“I believe that when more people have a chance to reach their full potential and enough economic security to make investments in their future, the benefits ripple throughout communities. The budget the Budget Committee approved today invests in those basic needs such as safety, stability and health. However, cities cannot do this alone; we need the federal government to contribute.”

Full Council will vote on the Budget Committee’s recommendations this afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

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Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21, HD Channels 321 Comcast, 721 Wave and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

[View in Council Newsroom]

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Council to Vote on Dedicating $2.3M to Combat Homeless Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/16/2015

Council to Vote on Dedicating $2.3M to Combat Homeless Crisis

SEATTLE – Council’s Budget Committee chair Nick Licata issued the following statement in advance of today’s 10:00 a.m. meeting, during which time the 9-member Committee will consider amending the proposed 2016 budget Mayor Murray delivered on September 28:

“Homelessness in Seattle is at a crisis level. The Council and Mayor agree we have an emergency. I believe additional financial investment to address the homelessness emergency is needed. Later this morning, Council will vote to add $2.3 million in one-time funding for new and expanded shelter beds to get people off the street, extend day center services and outreach services to vulnerable homeless adults, support authorized encampments, and child care for homeless children. This is in addition to the $5 million in one-time funds approved earlier this month.

“In an effort to meet the demands of the people we were elected to represent, we must both balance the budget and address the urgent and persistent needs of the homeless in our city. As a result of a positive update to the economic revenue forecast, which we recently received, and good work by Council Central Staff who found productive ways to use restricted funds, we are able to avoid diverting funds from the City’s ‘Rainy Day Fund’.”

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Study Finds Dismal Enforcement of Paid Sick Leave, Licata Urges Remedies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/29/2015

Study Finds Dismal Enforcement of Paid Sick Leave, Licata Urges Remedies

SEATTLE – A study released today from the Restaurant Opportunity Center has found that, as relates to paid sick and safe leave benefits, only 37.4% of restaurant workers in Seattle are aware of the law and 73.5% report that they don’t have access to paid sick leave. Further, in violation of wage theft laws, 20.5% of restaurant workers in the Seattle area report having worked off the clock without pay in the past year and 38.8% report that they are not paid 1.5 times the normal wage when they work overtime in violation of federal laws.

Councilmember Nick Licata reviewed the report findings, and believes that the Council should address:

  1. Better enforcement, including:
    1. company-wide investigations without requiring complaints
    2. a private right of action
    3. remedies that act as a greater deterrence
  1. Improved outreach to workers about their rights, including:
    1. retaliation protection
    2. provisions to encourage reporting of violations such as non-immigrant status visa certification for employees that report wage theft

 

In late 2014, the Council requested that the Executive deliver recommendations in April, 2015 for better enforcement of Seattle’s historic labor laws. Delivery of the recommendations was postponed until July, 2015 with agreement with the Council.  The Council has yet to receive recommendations from the Executive.

Councilmember Nick Licata said, “I appreciate the desire of the Mayor to negotiate with business and employee interests to come to agreement on how to move forward but if we believe that our labor laws are only as good as their enforcement at some point, we have to propose legislation and let the legislative process run its course.”

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Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

[View in Council Newsroom]

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Study Finds Dismal Enforcement of Paid Sick Leave, Licata Urges Remedies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/29/2015

Study Finds Dismal Enforcement of Paid Sick Leave, Licata Urges Remedies

SEATTLE – A study released today from the Restaurant Opportunity Center has found that, as relates to paid sick and safe leave benefits, only 37.4% of restaurant workers in Seattle are aware of the law and 73.5% report that they don’t have access to paid sick leave. Further, in violation of wage theft laws, 20.5% of restaurant workers in the Seattle area report having worked off the clock without pay in the past year and 38.8% report that they are not paid 1.5 times the normal wage when they work overtime in violation of federal laws.

Councilmember Nick Licata reviewed the report findings, and believes that the Council should address:

  1. Better enforcement, including:
    1. company-wide investigations without requiring complaints
    2. a private right of action
    3. remedies that act as a greater deterrence
  1. Improved outreach to workers about their rights, including:
    1. retaliation protection
    2. provisions to encourage reporting of violations such as non-immigrant status visa certification for employees that report wage theft

 

In late 2014, the Council requested that the Executive deliver recommendations in April, 2015 for better enforcement of Seattle’s historic labor laws. Delivery of the recommendations was postponed until July, 2015 with agreement with the Council.  The Council has yet to receive recommendations from the Executive.

Councilmember Nick Licata said, “I appreciate the desire of the Mayor to negotiate with business and employee interests to come to agreement on how to move forward but if we believe that our labor laws are only as good as their enforcement at some point, we have to propose legislation and let the legislative process run its course.”

# # #

Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

[View in Council Newsroom]

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Letter to Ethics and Elections Commission Requesting Ethics Code Fix

Below is a press statement from earlier today regarding a request to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission re: closing a loophole Councilmember Licata Calls for Fix to Ethics Code in Response to Developer Shakedown SEATTLE – Councilmember Nick Licata delivered a letter to the Seattle Ethics & Elections Commission (SEEC) today, asking that the […]

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Councilmember Licata Calls for Fix to Ethics Code in Response to Developer Shakedown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/20/2015

Councilmember Licata Calls for Fix to Ethics Code in Response to Developer Shakedown

SEATTLECouncilmember Nick Licata delivered a letter to the Seattle Ethics & Elections Commission (SEEC) today, asking that the independent body develop legislation intended to sanction people or organizations that attempt to bargain with candidates by threatening to use independent expenditures in local elections.  The request comes in response to a recent Seattle Times report on allegations that a then-employee of Triad Development Group approached a candidate running for local office and offered to help make a $200,000 independent expenditure “go away,” in exchange for settling a lawsuit.

Licata asked the SEEC to develop a solution to ensure any future similar independent expenditure coordination is clearly illegal. While Seattle has laws governing independent expenditures, there don’t appear to be laws governing potential independent expenditures.

“Public trust is undermined by the lack of a clear, unambiguous prohibition in the Seattle Ethics and Elections Code of these activities that could be construed as unethical coercion at best, extortion at worst. Clear lines must be established,” wrote Councilmember Licata in his letter. He added, “Even an appearance of potential corruption deeply damages our civic life.”

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission is an independent committee of seven citizen volunteers. The Commission is responsible for interpreting and applying the Seattle Ethics, Elections, Election Pamphlet, and Whistleblower Protection Codes and the City’s Lobbying Regulations.

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Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

[View in Council Newsroom]

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Urban Politics #383 Explaining the Mystery of the City Budget

This may sound like a boring topic with a title that is trying hard to make it exciting. However, if I were to title it “How to spend a million dollars,” you might read it. And, hopefully you are right now. So here it is in a nutshell. The City’s 2016 Budget determines how your […]

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