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    Tag: minimum wage

    Supporting the Muslim Community, a Voice for Drivers, Labor Standards, and More

    Yesterday was the last Full Council meeting of 2015 and it was jam packed: 52 agenda items, 3 ½ hours of deliberations. We started with a resolution expressing our support for Seattle’s Muslim community in the wake of increasing anti-Muslim…

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    April City Inside/Out: Council Edition

    This month I joined Councilmembers Godden and Harrell for Brian Callanan’s City Inside/Out Seattle Channel Show. We talked about minimum wage enforcement, filling the Council vacancy, encampments, and other topics. You can watch below:

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    Supporting a $15 Minimum Wage on April 15

    The City Council today passed a resolution I sponsored supporting workers across the country calling for a $15 minimum wage and the right to organize, as part of a national mobilization on April 15th. I’ve copied the text of the resolution below: A RESOLUTION supporting the establishment of a dignified and robust wage for employees […]

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    Kshama Sawant – 15 Months Later, Alaska Airlines is Still Refusing to Pay $15/hr

    On February 19 2015, I attended a pretrial rally in defense of workers and fellow organizers who are standing up to Alaska Airlines and the corporation’s refusal to follow the law and pay workers the $15/hour minimum wage SeaTac voters approved more than fifteen months ago. I was proud to stand and speak with my fellow “jail mates,” […]

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    Councilmember Sawant’s Statement on Movement to Expand $15 Minimum Wage to Bellevue and the Rest of Washington State

    Councilmember Sawant’s Statement on Movement to Expand $15 Minimum Wage to Bellevue and the Rest of Washington State SEATTLE – City Councilmember Kshama Sawant issued the following statement regarding today’s rally to bring a $15 minimum wage to the rest of Washington State: “I stand in solidarity with Seattle’s fast food workers and other workers […]

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    Urban Politics #352: Seattle’s Minimum Wage makes us a World Class City

    This week the Seattle City Council’s passage of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage legislation, Ord_124490, positions Seattle as a national leader in promoting sustainable economic development while also providing decent paying jobs. Seattle will show what a true world class city is: a city where all classes live in the same world, where they receive fair […]

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    Councilmember Kshama Sawant Statement in Support of Minimum Wage Ordinance

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/2/2014

    Councilmember Kshama Sawant

    Councilmember Kshama Sawant Statement in Support of Minimum Wage Ordinance

    Final Speech As Delivered

    SEATTLECouncilmember Kshama Sawant delivered the following speech today in support of the Council’s adoption of a $15 per hour minimum wage:

    A half century ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for a living wage at the March on Washington, where a quarter of a million people, mostly black workers, demanded their rights. They called for $2 per hour. In today’s dollars, that is the same number we have just won – Dr. King and his movement had launched the first fight for 15, at the same time they fought against the brutal racism of Jim Crow.

    With this vote, Seattle will become the first major city in the U.S. to win a $15 per hour minimum wage.

    Our victory comes less than six months after the launch of 15 Now, after the election of the first socialist to the city council in 100 years. We built on the work of labor in SeaTac, on the growing movement of the fast food workers which began in New York one year before. We worked alongside organized labor in Seattle, which campaigned continuously for 15.

    We forced the city establishment to lift the wages of 100,000 low wage workers in Seattle – to transfer $3 billion from business to workers at the bottom of the wage scale over the next 10 years.

    We did this. Workers did this.

    Today’s first victory for 15 will inspire people all over the nation.

    We need to recognize what happened here in Seattle that led us to this point.

    15 was not won at the bargaining table as a so-called “sensible compromise” between labor and business. It was not the result of the generosity of corporations or their Democratic Party representatives in government.

    What was voted on in the city council was a reflection of what workers and the labor movement won on the street over this last year.

    In 15 Now, groups of workers and activists met weekly, held mass conferences and debates, organized rallies, and engaged thousands of people around the city about the need for a living wage. We won the public debate – in a recent poll 74% of voters now support 15. We defeated the arguments of business in the corporate media.

    Let this be our guide. At every stage of the struggle, corporations and their representatives have sought to undermine our efforts. And future victories will also depend on the organization of working people fighting for our interests.

    This is also why we need an alternative to the two parties representing business. Despite the Democratic Party posing as a progressive alternative to the Republicans – we can see here in Seattle how it was only with the election of a socialist that the establishment was forced to pass real gains for workers. We need many more independent and socialist candidates to turn the tide against corporate politics.

    Our victory is not complete, but we have fought until the last day, the last hour, against all the loopholes demanded by business. I thank those councilmembers who voted for my pro-worker amendments.

    We’ll come back to the questions of tip penalty, the long-phase in, the training wage.

    What was lost through corporate loopholes is a reminder to us that outcomes are determined by the balance of forces. It is a reminder that we need to continue to build an even more powerful movement. A movement strong enough to overcome the counterattacks from business. A movement that goes on from 15 to win further gains to address the stunning income inequality workers face – a movement that will fight for rent control, taxes on millionaires & big developers, and full funding for all public services.

    I appeal to all workers to join the movement. The attempts of business to undermine 15 will continue, well after this vote today. They may submit legal challenges, they may challenge at the ballot, they may wait for their moment to make the “temporary” tip penalty permanent.

    But today’s message is clear: If we organize as workers, with a socialist strategy, we can tackle the chasm of income inequality and social injustice.

    15 in Seattle is just a beginning. We have an entire world to win.

    Solidarity.

    [View in Council Newsroom]

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    Councilmember Nick Licata Statement in Support of Minimum Wage Ordinance

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/2/2014

    Councilmember Nick Licata  

    Councilmember Nick Licata Statement in Support of Minimum Wage Ordinance

    Final Speech As Delivered

    SEATTLE – Councilmember Nick Licata delivered the following speech today in support of the Council’s adoption of a $15 per hour minimum wage:

    Mario Savio once said, as he was being dragged away by the police for setting up a card table on a campus without a permit to provide civil rights pamphlets. “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious-makes you so sick at heart-that you can’t take part. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working.”

    Savio said that 50 years ago, but it’s true today as well. That’s how the fast food workers acted exactly one year ago in Seattle when they walked off their jobs to be free from their exploitation. And that is a powerful word, filled with personal accusation. But it is not personal, it is a simple condition that has accompanied the growth of our market economy since the 1980’s. The consolidation of capital into fewer and fewer hands, has dramatically transformed the dynamics of this democracy.

    Our citizens, and I’m not talking about legal status here, I’m talking about the basic relationship of people to their government, have seen – not only their wealth diminish but their political power as well. And with the decline of their influence over their government they have seen their wages stagnate while corporate profits have piled up ever higher. In fact, the three largest employers of low-wage workers have all seen large profit increases in the last few years and are all more profitable than they were before the Great Recession.

    The legislation we pass today is just one small step to strike a fair and sustainable path toward our city’s and our nation’s prosperity. To those who have said that the sky will fall, I assure them – the sun will continue to rise. Except when there is daylight, we will see fewer people living hand to mouth.

    And there is’ much more to be done! But I can think of no other city with better political and community leadership to passionately and pragmatically continue to close the income and wealth gap. And in doing so, Seattle will show what a true world class city is: A city where all the classes live in the same world – where they receive fair and livable compensation for an honest days’ work.

    We have much to be proud of. We should celebrate; we should all celebrate, because we have made the world a little better for all of us, owners and workers alike. Thanks to all who have worked so hard to get us to today’s victory, a victory that will be heard around this nation.

    We are here today thanks, first and foremost, to the fast food workers who walked off their jobs a year ago in Seattle and even before that across the nation. They risked their jobs to tum this nation around. To tum it from placing investor returns above the basic needs of our citizens.

    However, to date, not one city has adopted $15 an hour – except Seattle. Others must follow. But it is not easy path to go down. As witnessed by how few are on it. It is also true, that the profits of the largest businesses have soared while worker wages have stagnated. In 1965, CEOs made 20.1 times the pay of the average worker. By 2012, that ratio was more than 10 times larger: CEOs made 273 times the pay of the average worker in 2012. As a result families are living on wages that are barely above the poverty level.

    These are facts. And there are other facts – which we must face up to. We do not have magic wand. But we do have leaders. I have stood with the democratically elected leaders of over 10,000 organized Seattle laborers – in supporting the plan before us. I stood with them, because they struggled hard for every word in that agreement. They wanted much more. As did I; and as do many of you. I will continue to stand with them. I acknowledge their hard work. And I will work to duplicate their victory, in cities across the nation. And as such, I will not break ranks with them and I will continue to support what they have agreed to – in the plan as it is before us, neither water downed and nor altered.

    [View in Council Newsroom]

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    City Council Approves $15/hour Minimum Wage in Seattle

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/2/2014
    Councilmember Sally J. Clark
    Council President Tim Burgess
    Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
    Councilmember Jean Godden
    Councilmember Bruce Harrell
    Councilmember Nick Licata
    Councilmember Mike O’Brie…

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    Councilmember Licata Statement on Minimum Wage Committee Vote

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/29/2014

    Councilmember Nick Licata

    Councilmember Licata Statement on Minimum Wage Committee Vote

    SEATTLECouncilmember Nick Licata issued the following statement in response to the City Council’s Minimum Wage and Income Inequality Committee’s vote to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour:

    “The passage today of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage legislation is a national game changer. Seattle, and other cities, are taking direct action to close our nation’s huge income gap because the Federal and state governments have failed to do so. Seattle’s new law opens the way for many workers to earn enough to meet their basic needs. It will raise their standard of living and by putting more dollars into our economy, stimulate greater business opportunities. By significantly raising the minimum wage, Seattle’s prosperity will be shared by more people and create a sustainable model for continued growth.

    “I am currently attending meetings in Chicago of the national Democratic Municipal Officials, to discuss how Seattle’s success can be repeated in other cities.At the end of June, I will be attending similar meetings in New York with the national Local Progress organization. Without a doubt, we are witnessing a national surge of municipal officials who are demanding that we cannot continue to slip into a third class country with a shrinking middle class and families being pushed into poverty.

    “The next critical step for Seattle to take is to create an Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, to ensure that all businesses are being treated equally under our labor laws. We cannot expect responsible businesses that are treating their employees fairly to be at a competitive disadvantage with those businesses that are not administering fair labor practices. I look forward to the creation of this new office at the start of next year.”

    [View in Council Newsroom]

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