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.”