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raybond
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"Seattle Announces $15 Minimum Wage, Highest In The


Seattle Minimum Wage
CREDIT: AP

Seattle will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour over the coming years under a deal brokered by Mayor Ed Murray and blessed by labor and business groups alike, city leaders announced Thursday afternoon.

The new pay floor will phase in at different speeds for businesses of different sizes, but all employers will have to meet the $15 minimum wage by the end of the decade. Businesses with more than 500 employees nationwide will have a three-year phase-in period, while smaller employers get five years to ratchet up their payscales.

After reaching $15 an hour, the city’s minimum wage will automatically climb by 2.4 percent each year regardless of the rate of inflation. Even among states with relatively strong minimum wage laws, automatic increases are uncommon. Thursday’s deal will make Seattle the national leader on municipal minimum wage laws. Washington currently has the highest pay floor of any state at $9.32 per hour.

The deal was a long time coming, with Murray first indicating he wanted to establish a $15 floor back in September during the mayoral campaign. Murray created the 24-member advisory group that crafted the compromise package back in December, and the group of local business owners, restaurateurs, and labor leaders has been grinding toward an agreement for the past four months.

Approval from restaurant owners is especially noteworthy given the deal’s provisions for tipped workers. Tips can only be counted toward worker minimum pay for the next five years. After that, the separate minimum hourly pay rates for tipped and non-tipped workers will disappear, and all employees citywide will have to be paid $15 hourly or more.

An activist coalition called 15 Now led by the lone socialist member of the City Council, Kshama Sawant, has pledged to put an immediate wage hike before city voters in November if the deal falls short of the group’s goals. Another coalition, 15 For Seattle, issued a press release Thursday saying that “many of the coalitions 100+ progressive members have already endorsed” the deal but that others “are taking the Mayor’s proposal back to their organizations for review and approval.” Sawant’s ballot initiative would let employers with fewer than 250 workers phase in higher wages over three years but impose the $15 rate immediately for larger businesses.

Sawant is one of two members of the working group who is opposing the deal announced Thursday, according to a source close to the negotiations. The other is Craig Dawson, the owner of a payments processing company called Retail Lockbox. The head of the city’s Chamber of Commerce is abstaining. But the 21 votes in favor include representatives from two separate chapters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) chapter, and the MLK Labor Council, as well as local hotel owners, restaurant owners, a pair of Councilmen, and the venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, who has made a name for himself in recent years as a wealthy champion of economic policies that focus on the middle class rather than on business owners and the wealthy.

There are 102,000 workers in Seattle currently earning less than $15 an hour. Raising those people’s wages will put about half a billion extra dollars of spending money into Seattle workers’ pockets. As SEIU 775 president and coalition co-chair David Rolf said in a statement Thursday, the deal “will pump nearly $500 million into Washington’s economy, proving that a higher minimum wage fuels business and job growth.”

Tags: Minimum Wage

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CashCowMoo
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Stupid. $15 an hour for min wage? That's how bad our economy is now? The value of the dollar has reached that point?


I just love hope and change!

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glassman
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LOL cashcow.

15$/hr is about the average household income in MS. i can tell you first hand that Seattle is a much better place to live. You wanna play? You gotta pay. that's the American Way. They know exactly what they are doing up there.

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raybond
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CREDIT: Shutterstock

On Tuesday, lawmakers in Hawaii voted to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2018 and it was signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) the next day. While the state is the third to raise its wage to that level this year, it’s unique in one aspect: its wage will apply to tipped and nontipped workers alike.

That means Hawaii will become the eighth state to require businesses like restaurants, nail salons, bars, and barber shops to pay the employees who earn tips the same minimum wage as everyone else. Before Hawaii, Alaska, California, Montana, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington had already done the same. Those seven states have more than 1 million tipped workers that make the full minimum wage.

There are opportunities for more to join the club. According to Saru Jayaraman, co-director of ROC United, ballot measures in Michigan and Washington, DC as well as legislation in Florida and Pennsylvania would get rid of the lower tipped minimum wage. “Our focus is on the ballot measures,” she told ThinkProgress, which she says “are likely to pass.”

Those seven states that have already eliminated the two-tier system stand out. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13, about 30 percent of the $7.25 wage for all other workers, and it hasn’t been raised in two decades. But among those who did away with the lower wage, the minimum for tipped workers reaches as high as 130 percent of the federal level. And their experience with a higher wage for people who earn tips shows it could have positive benefits for the whole economy.

The low tipped wage leaves many people who earn it struggling to get by. Across the country, workers in predominantly tipped jobs are twice as likely to experience poverty, and restaurant servers have a poverty rate that is nearly three times the rate for everyone else. Servers are also twice as likely to use food stamps to feed themselves. But the situation is different in states with higher tipped wages. In those seven states, the poverty rate for tipped workers has been reduced by a third.

Part of the reason so many tipped workers struggle to get by is that their employers don’t live up to their obligation to fill in their wages. If a workers’ hourly wage plus tips doesn’t add up to $7.25 an hour, the employer is required to make up the difference. But few do. More than one in ten tipped workers say their pay adds up to less than that even with tips. The Department of labor found 84 percent of employers weren’t compliant with the rule when it conducted 9,000 investigations over two years.

It doesn’t just help the workers themselves. A report from ROC United found that these states also experienced above average employment growth in the restaurant industry compared to the rest of the country. It’s set to grow 10.5 percent in those seven states, compared to 9.1 percent in the others. Job growth for tipped workers also tends to be higher where they make more than $5 per hour and is even higher in those seven states without a lower wage.

And restaurants themselves can benefit. The report found that per capita actual sales in the industry over the last three years increased as the tipped minimum wage increased. One reason, it posits, could be an improvement in customer service and a reduction in turnover — a survey of 1,000 employers in the industry found that higher wages cut their turnover in half. The higher wage also puts more money in workers’ pockets, which can translate to more money spent at these establishments.

Some restaurants have already decided that the benefits outweigh the costs. From a bar in Washington, DC to a high-end sushi restaurant in New York City, some places are banning tips for their workers in favor of just paying them a higher wage and giving them benefits. One restaurant owner said doing so improved both his service and revenues.

They have not just recognized that tipping can leave their workers making less, but that it doesn’t necessarily come with benefits. While customers think that tipping allows them to get better service, that doesn’t actually play out: their perception of service accounts for just a percentage point or so in what tips they leave. Meanwhile, tipping can perpetuate racism and sexism, rewarding attractive women and white servers over others.

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glassman
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i've lived allover the US. between my wife and I we've had 20 employers besides Ourslves (both of us have owned and operated businesses together and apart)this guys statements are dead on. something is missing. Our govt is broken at the political and the Bureaucratic levels. Seattle will actually GROW FASTER due to this new law. People will continue to leave chitholes to get better chances at making it. I have watched a state live in total denial about what it's actual problems are for a whole decade now, and not by choice. I just happened to be here in MS when our economy crashed. People have been leaving this area for three decades (25% decline in actual population)and the leaders of my local communities are lying to themsleves about why this is happening..


What’s happening is both easy enough for a traveler to see and for an economist to measure. Median household income in 2012 was no higher than it had been a quarter-century earlier. Meanwhile, expenses had outpaced inflation. U.S. Census Bureau figures show that the income gap between rich and poor had widened to a more than four-decade record since the 1970s. The 46.2 million people in poverty remained the highest number since the Census Bureau began collecting that data 53 years ago. The gap between how much total wealth America's 1% of earners control and what the rest of us have is even wider than even in the years preceding the Great Depression of 1929. Argue over numbers, debate which statistics are most accurate, or just drive around America: the trend lines and broad patterns, the shadows of our world of regime change, are sharply, sadly clear.

After John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, he said he was filled with “certain angers at people who were doing injustices to other people." I, too, felt anger, though it’s an emotion that I’m unsure how to turn against the problems we face.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/02

© 2014 Peter van Buren

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raybond
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CREDIT: Subway

The founder and CEO of Subway says a minimum wage increase wouldn’t be such a bad thing for his stores and workers and believes it should be changed so that wages rise automatically with inflation.

“I’m not concerned,” CEO Fred DeLuca said on Wednesday when CNBC asked him about minimum wage hikes. “Over the years, I’ve seen so many of these wage increases. I think it’s normal. It won’t have a negative impact hopefully, and that’s what I tell my workers.”

DeLuca’s support is noteworthy in part because of the size of his business. Subway has the most locations of any fast food chain. While a majority of small business owners support a $10.10 wage hike, major corporations of that scale typically oppose raising wages.

DeLuca had previously warned that raising the minimum wage too rapidly would be a “bad idea” that could damage businesses, while acknowledging that “minimum-wage workers deserve to make more.” At the time that he offered that warning in 2013, President Obama was proposing a minimum wage hike from $7.25 to $9 an hour. Since then, Obama has joined congressional progressives in calling for a $10.10 hourly minimum, which would nearly recoup the purchasing power low-wage workers have lost to inflation over the past 40 years.

DeLuca launched Subway nearly 39 years ago. The minimum wage then was $1.25 an hour, which would be $9.38 per hour in today’s dollars. Even after a three-step wage hike from 2008 to 2010 — the first time the minimum wage had been raised in over a decade — the minimum wage is worth 20 percent less than it was in the late 1960s. “I personally think that if I were in charge of the government, I would index the minimum wage to inflation so that way everybody knows what they can count on,” DeLuca told CNBC.

In the 15 months since DeLuca criticized proposed wage hikes as too rapid, low-wage worker strikes have spread from a handful of New York fast food stores to a hundred cities in all parts of the country, ratcheting up the pressure on lawmakers to act on wages. On Wednesday, workers announced plans for strikes in 150 U.S. cities and protests in 30 other countries across six continents.

Beyond opposing higher wages, large fast food companies are often perpetrators of wage theft, which nine out of 10 fast food workers report experiencing. Subway leads the industry in wage theft violations, thanks in part to its size. “We, as a company, realize that some of our owners have not done the right thing,” DeLuca said when asked about wage theft. “The people who come to work deserve to be paid properly and there’s no excuse.”

At the same time that fast food companies fight to keep wages down and hide behind franchise agreements when discussing wage theft, their CEOs are earning ever-larger compensation packages. The fast food industry has the largest pay gap between workers and executives, with top men making 1,200 times more than their typical worker.

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raybond
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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Vermont’s minimum wage will rise from $8.73 to $10.50 over the next four years under a bill that won final passage just before the legislative session ended on Saturday. The measure puts Vermont on track to have the highest minimum wage of any state in 2018, higher than a handful of states whose pay floors will rise to $10.10 under laws approved this year.

“I will be proud to sign it,” Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) said of the bill. The final version will phase in the higher wage in order to win nearly unanimous support in both chambers. The state’s minimum wage was already indexed to inflation.

The Green Mountain state is the seventh to enact a minimum wage hike this year and the fourth to crack the $10 mark. Delaware and West Virginia lawmakers raised their wages above $8 an hour. Minnesota raised the minimum wage for most large companies to $9.50. And Hawaii, Maryland, and Connecticut each established $10.10 minimum wages.

The $10.10 number has become a rallying point for lawmakers looking to give low-wage workers a boost. That figure would nearly restore the buying power minimum wage workers have lost to inflation over the past four decades. It would raise nearly 5 million people out of poverty, most of them working adults with bills to pay rather than the teenagers many people imagine when they think of minimum wage workers. President Obama raised his own target from $9 an hour to $10.10 late last year following years of pressure from progressives in Congress. Republican resistance to raising the minimum wage — or, in some cases, to having a minimum wage at all — has stymied those national efforts, however, shunting worker and activist energy off into state and local fights.

Seattle recently announced a plan to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years, and numerous other cities have enacted or are considering local wage ordinances. Some conservative state lawmakers and governors have tried to preempt those campaigns by issuing bans on local minimum wage laws. Dozens of states are still set to consider wage hikes through either legislative action or ballot measures this fall.

The energy driving these campaigns comes primarily from workers. After a handful of New York City fast food workers went on strike in late 2012, the walkouts spread across the country in 2013. A wave of fast food strikes hit 100 cities in December. Workers are expected to strike in 150 U.S. cities on Thursday amid solidarity protests in 30 other countries across all six inhabited continents on the planet.

Minimum wage opponents often argue that the laws harm the economy and that businesses oppose them. But six in 10 small business owners in a recent survey support a $10.10 wage floor, and even some larger companies in low-wage sectors have recently signaled support for raising the minimum wage. Academic evidence on the jobs impact of wage hikes is mixed, but there’s substantial reason to believe minimum wages don’t harm job growth — and probably even enhance it.

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CashCowMoo
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Why are they cheering their cause at their work? They should be at their city halls and local governance.

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It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

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raybond
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Why Walmart needs to support a higher minimum wage




Could Walmart (WMT) be the deciding factor in the higher minimum wage debate? A new Reuters Breakingviews column argues that the nation's largest retailer should throw its support behind proposals to raise the minimum wage.

Nearly half of Walmart's 1.4 million U.S. workers currently earn an average of $8.45 per hour for a 34-hour workweek. A higher hourly wage could increase Walmart's labor costs by $2 billion, says Breakingviews editor Rob Cox. But the payoffs would be much greater.

"Walmart has been vilified" for its low wages," says Cox in the video above. "This could be Walmart's Henry Ford moment."

Related: America’s 30M hourly workers deserve a raise: Ralph Nader

Ford Motor (F) founder Henry Ford revolutionized the industrial landscape when he doubled his employees' wages to $5 per day in 1914. The pay increase allowed his workers to buy the Model T cars they assembled every day on the factory line. The decision helped give rise to the burgeoning middle class. (Ford's gesture was not entirely benevolent; he raised wages to "stabilize the workforce" according to Ford historian Bob Kreipke. The decision also doubled Ford's profits.)

Congressional Republicans have thwarted efforts by President Obama and Democrats to boost the federal minimum wage, a cornerstone of the Democrats' midterm election campaign. Last month Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have gradually raised the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. At least 17 million Americans would be directly affected by a higher hourly wage.

Related: How Walmart and McDonald's can raise wages and still boost profits

Breakingviews estimates that Walmart could net an additional $13 billion if the minimum wage jumps to $10 an hour. At least one quarter of Walmart shoppers work in minimum-wage jobs and they're more likely to spend that extra cash than save it, Cox notes.

Related: One solution to McDonald’s pay standoff

For now, Walmart has stayed mum on the issue. But that's to the company's -- and employees' -- disadvantage, Cox says. "It's the right thing for the working man, who also happens to be their customer," he adds.

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CashCowMoo
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http://www.unitedliberty.org/articles/17751-warning-to-seattle-seatac-businesses -slashing-benefits-overtime-in-wake-of-wage-hike


Now look what is happening. The solution to this is just charging people special living wage surcharges to your bill and getting rid of as many employees as you can. Automate everything.

Thanks ray, glad you support people losing their jobs.

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It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

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raybond
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cash, automation is coming no matter what kind of wages are being paid. Your insight into a problem is 40 years to late, and stinks of Limbaugh logic.

As far as your dim witted thought process goes the fast food workers should be striking for $1.00 an hour to create more jobs.

By the way I guess you never read the book, the end of work. I recommended it to you to read over 2 years ago as far as I remember. You might learn something from it, its a conservative book so you would like it.

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raybond
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How A Millionaire, A Socialist, And Some Taco Bell Workers Brought A Living Wage To Seattle

By Alan Pyke June 5, 2014 at 10:13 am Updated: June 5, 2014 at 11:22 am


"How A Millionaire, A Socialist, And Some Taco Bell Workers Brought A Living Wage To Seattle"


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When Mayor Ed Murray (D) signed a bill that gradually raises Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour on Tuesday, his choice of location seemed to reflect the complex and cooperative process that produced the document he was signing.

Rather than City Hall, Murray chose to hold the signing ceremony in Cal Anderson Park, which was the starting point for some of the many rallies that activists from groups, like 15 Now, organized over the past year. A ballplayer with a good arm would have no trouble throwing a rock from the park’s northwest corner into Dick’s Drive-In, a local Seattle burger chain. The south end of the park looks onto a multi-block stretch of bars and restaurants that has exploded with development and commerce in the past few years. Business interests like these played an essential role in crafting the aggressive-but-thoughtful law that Murray signed in that park on Tuesday.

And just a couple hundred feet west of the park sits Seattle Central Community College, a hub of Occupy Seattle activity and the trampoline from which Socialist Kshama Sawant launched her successful city council campaign.

It took a year of activist pressure, a worker-dominated election cycle that put a socialist on the city council, and several months of hard negotiating across ideological lines, but the new law will raise Seattle workers’ standard of living dramatically over the coming years. Some things about that process may be unique to Seattle, and replicating the exact recipe the city’s labor, business, and political communities used might be impossible. But interviews with some of the most prominent participants reveal that the key ingredients for a $15 minimum wage are completely portable, and could soon come to a city near you.

A Confluence Of Pressure

On the evening of May 29, 2013, Taco Bell and Burger King night shift workers walked off the job, forcing a pair of stores to close. They were joined the next morning by dozens more workers from other chain restaurants in other neighborhoods around the city, who planned to converge in the late morning — near Cal Anderson Park, of course — and march together a little more than a mile west to Denny Park for an afternoon rally. A local progressive activist called it “a powerful kickoff” for a movement that didn’t yet know what shape it would take.






The Seattle strikes came just as the city’s election season was beginning, and the multifaceted campaign that blossomed out of the walkouts eventually came to dominate citywide races.

“It didn’t hurt that we did that the first time in Seattle the week that candidates had to file for election,” said David Rolf, President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 775NW and a co-chair of the committee that ultimately came up with the minimum wage proposal. The campaign then held a televised debate on low-wage worker issues, among a variety of other actions planned to correspond with the electoral calendar.

“People who didn’t know they were going to be running in an issue environment where $15 was one of the top three issues that the public was focused on ended up running in that environment,” Rolf said.

In September, then-candidate Ed Murray issued a proposal for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. “We counted!” Rolf laughed. “I think he made this promise something like 46 different times, debate after debate, candidate forum after candidate forum.” The campaign had made it so that the $15 wage “became a question you couldn’t not answer.”

One city candidate in particular was eager to answer questions about a $15 minimum wage. Kshama Sawant, then a community college economics professor in the city, had been nominated by her fellow socialists to run for city council on the Socialist Alternative ballot line. A group called 15 Now sprung up to rally workers and their supporters through the election season, and Sawant became their champion too. It was in some ways a perfect fit.

“I remember growing up in India as a child, one of my oldest memories is just wondering, why is there poverty?” Sawant said, recalling her dissatisfaction with the answers she got then. “I never bought into this idea that poor people are lazy. It is so patently untrue, because the poorest people are the hardest-working people.”

“When those fast food workers courageously walked out it had a huge effect on people’s consciousness”

Sawant is a mixture of fiery rhetoric and clear-eyed critique of a system she finds rotten, all laced together with a confident charm. Her campaign tapped into something powerful in the city’s electorate, and she ultimately won more than 93,000 votes – enough to unseat a four-term incumbent. She only accepts $40,000 of her nearly $120,000 council salary, sending the after-tax remainder to a Solidarity Fund managed by Socialist Alternative to fund other causes. One of its first donations was a $15,000 gift to 15 Now, one of the organizations Sawant credits with “changing the agenda” of the city’s political elites.

The same week Sawant won her seat, another key piece of Seattle’s minimum wage fight fell into place just a couple dozen miles down the road. The small town of Seatac, Washington, which encompasses the Seattle-Tacoma airport, enacted an almost immediate minimum wage hike to $15 an hour through a ballot measure. The vote kicked off a legal fight that has left Seatac’s workers in a delicate situation, but its political reverberations up the road strengthened Seattle workers’ hand significantly.

Before he was even sworn in as mayor, Murray made good on his campaign promise to focus on raising the minimum wage to $15 by announcing that SEIU’s Rolf and Seattle Hospitality Group head Howard Wright would co-chair a commission made up of Sawant and 21 other civic leaders from the business, labor, and social services communities. The Income Inequality Advisory Committee (IIAC) would have five months to hammer out a $15 minimum wage policy deal, but if it failed to produce a deal by the end of April, the mayor would send his own legislation to the City Council.

Councilwoman Sawant had her own power play in motion as the IIAC meetings proceeded, as the activists who she represented went around the city gathering signatures for an immediate $15 wage hike ballot initiative similar to the one that Seatac voters approved. After an election season dominated by the $15 question, polling showed well over 60 percent of the city wanted a $15 deal, which gave Sawant’s ballot initiative threat some teeth.

“A Little Bit Of Blood On The Floor” For Everybody

The final version of Seattle’s minimum wage law will take the minimum wage up to $10 next April for small businesses and $11 for larger ones. It will take seven years for the small business minimum wage to reach $15, while larger businesses must reach that rate in three years. The law labels a business “small” if it has 500 or fewer employees, not in Seattle alone but nationwide, and puts it on the slower ramp-up to the new minimum wage, “Schedule 2.” Any firm with 501 or more employees in the U.S. must adhere to the faster “Schedule 1” rate hikes.

Each of those two groupings has two sub-groups to allow companies that provide non-wage compensation like health care or tips to factor those benefits in temporarily. A large Schedule 1 employer that provides health care will get four years instead of three to reach the $15 minimum. A small Schedule 2 employer whose workers get tips and health care will have to show that workers’ total compensation has reached $15 an hour in five years instead of the seven-year window allotted for other small businesses. After that, the city’s minimum wage will rise automatically with inflation.

That core deal was finally hammered out by the mayor’s 24-member Income Inequality Advisory Committee back in May. And specifically from the close collaboration between business’s Wright, labor’s Rolf, and another six core IIAC members who dubbed themselves the “Group of 8.”

“The basic framework of a settlement was created on the evening of April 14th,” Rolf said. “This was sketched out on a white board and it became the go-home concept. We all kind of knew it at that moment,” he said, “where everybody makes the equivalent psychological leap halfway towards their counterpart’s position.” There were a few near-blowouts over the next two weeks, but after one cool-off weekend with no meetings the group announced a 21-2 vote in favor of the deal that Murray signed Tuesday. (Seattle Chamber of Commerce representative Maud Daudon abstained.)

Those two ‘no’ votes? A businessman named Craig Dawson, and Sawant.

“There was a mixture of philosophy and pragmatism that every member brought to the table, and the two most ideological members formed our only two no votes,” recalls SEIU’s Rolf. “The sorta libertarian business guy and the Trotskyist city councilwoman.”

Those bookend positions on the left and right helped set Seattle’s “blue-ribbon commission” apart from others formed to address tough policy questions that then fizzle out, even if they meant that Sawant got frozen out of the core group of negotiators.

The $15 minimum wage “became a question you couldn’t not answer.”

“No one was an ideological idiot,” remembers committee member and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer. “Usually the people who get chosen for these blue ribbon commissions are actually not people who ever get **** done in their lives, but who are part of the process of creating polarization professionally.” When those sorts of groups fail, “nobody gives a ****.”

“But here there were going to be consequences. Real-life, immediate consequences,” Hanauer said, invoking the threat of the 15 Now Seatac-style ballot initiative. “People were going to go to the polls and they were going to get something passed and they were going to get something passed almost certainly that was not going to be optimal for anybody.”

Sawant’s support for the committee’s deal could have thrown cold water on the push for a ballot initiative. She withheld support when the committee voted, a decision she says was grounded in the concern that removing the ground-level activist pressure too soon would embolden the City Council to fiddle with a wage hike she already felt was too slow and too generous to big businesses. Voting for the deal would have been like turning off the kettle before the water had boiled.

That same tactical choice made space for the committee’s other members to come down off their natural ideological perches.

“Everybody left something behind,” said Wright, “a little bit of blood on the floor and some deeply held principles.” Wright and the business caucus insisted on three major points: a gradual phase-in, some form of credit for businesses that offer health care and other non-wage compensation, and no carve-out for union collective bargaining deals (something he said was a key flaw in the Seatac initiative). With the clear knowledge that $15 was coming to Seattle one way or another thanks to the worker pressure that had given Murray a mandate to create the committee, entrepreneurs and union officials haggled their way to something everyone could live with.

In that sense, then, Sawant’s hardline stance was a key part of this Tuesday’s victory.

“You look at the external factors of Seatac having passed $15, you look at Councilwoman Sawant’s campaign,” said Wright. “Had only one of those two things occurred, I’m not sure there would’ve been the groundswell toward $15.”

“Everyone understood the mayor had committed to this policy on the campaign trail,” Rolf said. “The other three things that happened that created a huge amount of momentum for this were a wave of very successful fast food strikes beginning last May in Seattle, the passage of the Seatac living wage ballot initiative … and then the surprise election of a socialist city councilwoman who ran on a single-issue $15 platform.”

“Those three things created a sense of civic momentum that said this thing’s leaving the station, you’re either on you’re not.”

Where Do We Go From Here

Ask four members of Seattle’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee how to make their successful minimum wage deal transferable to other parts of the country, and you’ll get four different answers. But the suggestions overlap one another, sketching an outline of what needs to happen in other cities and states to make something as dramatic as a $15 minimum wage possible.

“We could have a really interesting beer over this,” the business-side co-chair Howard Wright said in response to the question of how to transport Seattle’s win elsewhere. For Wright, it comes down to political geography: “I would suggest that Boston, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco would be more open to this concept. I would suggest that perhaps Dallas Fort-Worth, Oklahoma, and other places might not be so open to this,” he said, chuckling. Even in Washington state, on the other side of the Cascades range that divides the urban from the rural, “I don’t think this would even grab traction there.”

“You shouldn’t be asking for fifty cents, you should be asking for five bucks. That gets people’s attention.”

Wright praised the process the mayor created as one that let all sides feel invested in doing something extraordinary, despite his reservations about the magnitude of the wage hike.

The other men echoed those accolades for the IIAC’s work. “’Compromise’ doesn’t do justice to the result we got,” venture capitalist Hanauer said. “It wasn’t that we just split the baby, it was that we collectively thought through the problem” and forged “a civic solution that no one probably would’ve come up with individually on their own.”

But to Hanauer, places like Dallas or eastern Washington or anywhere else are opportunities to revolutionize how Americans think about how the economy works. “It’s a pretty progressive place,” he said, and “we’re generally a little bit ahead of the curve. But I will tell you that while other places may not be as progressive as we are, when we enact this law and our state does not slide into the ocean, that will make it easier for people to be like ‘well, ****, why shouldn’t we do that?’”

People “look at the $27 billion in profit Walmart makes every year and they celebrate without connecting it to the fact that Walmart workers are the biggest recipients of food stamps in the country and are all in poverty,” Hanauer went on, “That’s on us. People don’t know that. But if you say to them, look we can live in a world where Walmart made $17 billion in profit and each one of the million lowest-paid Walmart workers would earn $10,000 more a year and none of them would be in poverty and all of them would be able to buy more stuff from your business, and by the way, you don’t have to pay food stamps now, and everybody’s gonna be better off? Then they’re like, ‘Oh, ****, we should do that!’”

Rather than simply wait for Seattle’s good example to dispel the witchcraft around minimum wage hikes and economic growth, Hanauer urges progressives to get bolder. “You shouldn’t be asking for fifty cents, you should be asking for five bucks. That gets people’s attention.” Once you have their attention, the key is to present a different model for how to create prosperity. “Progresives have been so boxed-in by trickle-down economics,” Hanauer said, deriding the past generation of progressive economic arguments as “trickle-down lite.”

Over the several months of organizing and persuasion work that set the stage for Seattle’s victory, “we weren’t out making social justice arguments, we were saying if we pay people a living wage then they can afford to shop in the businesses in our city and we won’t have to support the poverty programs that they now all live on. So that is a completely different argument than what progressives have advanced for 30 years, which is ‘Ohh, I feel so sorry for those people, we should help them!’

“The process was a good process,” SEIU’s Rolf said. “But I think the real lesson here is an organizing lesson not a process lesson. For progressives, the lesson is change the direction of the wind.”That means strikes and protests and candidate forums and election-year leverage, the kind of on-the-ground organizing work that can turn the middle-out message Hanauer described into a tool that shapes debate and writes policy.

“That is fundamentally replicable anywhere. Now, your starting line may be different in east Texas than it is in Seattle or New York City,” Rolf said. But “the fundamental lesson here is I think if you can engineer a change in the opinion climate, then the previously unthinkable becomes quite imaginable.”

Rolf’s lesson sounds a bit like a moderate shadow of what the radical Councilwoman Sawant prescribes for eradicating poverty.

“When those fast food workers courageously walked out it had a huge effect on people’s consciousness,” Sawant said. As a die-hard opponent of capitalism, her goal is “to see if we can build a broader movement, not just in Seattle but nationwide.” When the fast-food walkouts began to spread, “the idea of $15 started imprinting itself on people’s consciousness. The idea that this is not just a concept but something we can fight for and win.”

When workers shut down those two Seattle fast food stores last May, Seattle was the seventh city to see fast food strikes. Since then, the strikes have spread to more than 150 U.S. cities. There is already talk of mounting similar campaigns in other nearby cities.

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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NR
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So hows it feel when your goals align with those of a Socialist Ray?

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One is never completely useless. One can always serve as a bad example.

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raybond
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politics makes strange bed fellows. As the saying goes

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Lockman
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Guess the $5.00 sandwich in Seattle just jumped to 6.25...who eats at Subway? People making minimum wage...

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Let's Go METS!!!

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Upside
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With a $15.00 minimum wage guess who's going to suffer the most? The workers. For an entry level position I now have to pay 15 bucks an hour. Okay, that two week paid vacation you were getting? Gone. That retirement account that I've been contributing to for so long? Not anymore. Company sponsored health insurance? Bye bye. Paid sick days? Don't make me laugh.

Here's the downside to all of this. Businesses that are worth their salt will figure out a way to profit even more with a higher wage rate, that's what they do in the face of adversity They'll increase the cost of their goods/services AND they'll strip costly benefits from the labor force. It's going to happen, just watch.

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CashCowMoo
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This country is falling apart

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It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

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raybond
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As of now its just Seattle that passed a minimum wage law at that nice rate, but I'am sure it will be heading your way soon enough for you guys.

All I have to say about the matter is do what you have to do, that's the great thing about America. You can fight anything you can go down swinging and maybe you might win.

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Upside
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Ray, for just one minute put yourself in the shoes of a small business owner. Your business provides you with a decent but modest lifestyle and you try to provide for your employees as best you can. Now a 15 dollar per hour minimum wage comes into play and it raises the wage rate of all of your employees from the top to the bottom.

If you don't do something the new wage structure will put you out of business. What are you going to do? Seriously, what do you do? Do you risk everything and hope that you can turn up new business knowing that if you fail you're going to go under? Or do you immediately slash costs down to business survival level? Yes, you're preserving your lifestyle while damaging those of your employees but it's your blood sweat and tears that built the business. Are you really going to throw it all away so your employees don't suffer while you do?

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Relentless.
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quote:
Originally posted by Upside:
Ray, for just one minute put yourself in the shoes of a small business owner. Your business provides you with a decent but modest lifestyle and you try to provide for your employees as best you can. Now a 15 dollar per hour minimum wage comes into play and it raises the wage rate of all of your employees from the top to the bottom.

If you don't do something the new wage structure will put you out of business. What are you going to do? Seriously, what do you do? Do you risk everything and hope that you can turn up new business knowing that if you fail you're going to go under? Or do you immediately slash costs down to business survival level? Yes, you're preserving your lifestyle while damaging those of your employees but it's your blood sweat and tears that built the business. Are you really going to throw it all away so your employees don't suffer while you do?

Give them a clue.

How long do you pay minimum wage for a good employee?
How long before said good employee learns enough and is capable enough to truly benefit the company such that his reward surpasses the stated goal of $15/HR?

That's the real issue here.

Idiots languishing on minimum wage. Some idiotic notion that people earn minimum wage their entire lives and it's not their efn fault. If someone is so stupid that they can't, in this country, rise above the lowest of the low? Then fm.

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raybond
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CREDIT: AP

A question on San Francisco’s November ballot will ask city residents whether they want to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 2018.

The city already has the highest big-city minimum wage at $10.74, mainly thanks to the fact that it increases with inflation. And in California, tipped workers such as waiters or taxi drivers have to get the full minimum wage, instead of the lower tipped minimum wage of $2.13 at the federal level, so they will share in the raise. The ballot measure would increase the minimum wage to $11 by January 2015 and gradually increase every year until hitting the $15 level.

The higher wage is meant to be one way to address rising income inequality in the city and the growing cost of living. The area’s tech boom has created a divide between Silicon Valley workers and the growth in low-wage jobs for everyone else.

San Francisco’s move also comes after Seattle struck an agreement to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour over the course of a decade. A town surrounding Seattle’s airport had already passed a $15 minimum wage, although it is currently being fought over in the courts. Chicago and New York City are also considering a $15 wage. That particular number was put on the national radar by striking fast food workers, who have staged a series of walk outs across the country to demand that higher pay.

While some worry that higher minimum wages will cost jobs or economic growth, San Francisco residents are likely unconcerned. The city’s experience with having the country’s highest wage has been positive. It was the city with the greatest growth in small business employment over the last year. In the seven years after it increased its wage, employment grew by more than 5 percent while falling in nearby counties and restaurant job growth grew faster, increasing by 17.7 percent.

The same has happened at the state level. Washington state has had the highest minimum wage and topped all others for small business job growth. Overall job growth has stayed steady at an 0.8 percent rate, higher than the national one. A comprehensive look at state-level wage hikes over the last two decades didn’t find any clear evidence that they affected job creation.

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CashCowMoo
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Hey Ray, I have an idea I think you would like. Lets just get rid of hourly wages and pay everyone a fair salary mandated by law. Minimum $40K a year to pick up trash or cook fast food. What say you?

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raybond
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sounds ok to me smart ass.

economics 101 labor is like any other market it gets all it can,

free country yet, why don't you hit the streets and protest for no minimum wage, if you got the guts to do so.

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raybond
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CREDIT: AP

Would you give up all food for a week for a $15 wage?

In Providence, Rhode Island, three hotel workers and a city councilwoman started a week-long hunger strike on Monday, protesting a state bill that would block their efforts to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The state Senate Finance Committee has passed a provision banning cities and towns from raising their minimum wages above the state level, which rose to $8 an hour at the beginning of the year and might be increased to $9. But $9 an hour is not high enough for Providence’s hotel workers, who had organized to get their city council to consider raising their wages to at least $15 an hour.

Santa Brito, a hotel housekeeper on hunger strike who spoke with ThinkProgress through an interpreter, said she’s making $10 an hour but still can’t get by. “I have to borrow money from my brothers and cousins just to pay off my bills and buy other things my son needs,” she said. “With the money I earn I can’t even pay off my mortgage.”

A $15 minimum wage, on the other hand, could make a big difference. It would allow Brito to pay her bills, buy necessities for her family, and even pay for her son to go to college.

My kids can eat more. With that minimum wage I could buy a home for my children to have a better place to grow up.

For Ylenny Ferreras, also a hotel worker on hunger strike who has been organizing for the wage increase and spoke through an interpreter, that higher wage “would definitely change my life,” she said. “My kids can eat more. With that minimum wage I could buy a home for my children to have a better place to grow up.” But on her current $8 wage, it would be very difficult to buy her own home.

Mirjaam Parada, another hunger striker who is lucky enough to make $17 an hour at her hotel, made less in her last job when everyone’s pay was cut by 20 percent. “I know what it means to survive,” she said. Her rent is $800 a month, and that plus gas and food “is all the money” at a lower wage, she added.

A $15 wage would allow the hotel workers to “live with a little bit of respect and not have to be afraid for the next month about how to pay the bills,” Parada added.

The fight isn’t just about wage levels, however. The provision in the state budget blocking local minimum wage hikes has made them feel ignored and disenfranchised. “Politicians say you have the right to vote, it’s your responsibility to make sure your community is fine,” Parada said. But their voices aren’t being heard.

“We’ve been totally ignored by the statehouse,” Ferreras explained.

That lack of local control is what made City Councilwoman Shelby Maldonado join the hunger strike. “As an official, I feel like it’s a right being taken away,” she said. “City officials should be able to respond to the needs of their community, especially on the minimum wage.” She represents Central Falls, where she said “families are living paycheck to paycheck just trying to make ends meet. They’re asking for a fair minimum wage.”

Rhode Island is the latest place to see these sort of preemption measures that ban municipalities from raising their own wages. Oklahoma passed one in April and Kansas has a law that prevents local governments from requiring contractors to pay higher wages. A handful of mostly Republican states passed these kinds of laws about a decade ago, including Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon, and Texas. But in Rhode Island, the state legislature is controlled by Democrats.

The hunger strike will take place outside of the Rhode Island statehouse and last for seven days. “If we need it to go longer, then we will,” Maldonado said.

“I want the governor to know we’re together and this is necessary, to have a $15 minimum wage,” Ferreras said. “That’s why I’m on this hunger strike.”

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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buckstalker
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So CCM...Is it YOUR belief that people that pick up YOUR trash and cook YOUR food are a lower form of human life than say YOU?

quote:
Originally posted by CashCowMoo:
Hey Ray, I have an idea I think you would like. Lets just get rid of hourly wages and pay everyone a fair salary mandated by law. Minimum $40K a year to pick up trash or cook fast food. What say you?


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NR
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quote:
Originally posted by CashCowMoo:
Hey Ray, I have an idea I think you would like. Lets just get rid of hourly wages and pay everyone a fair salary mandated by law. Minimum $40K a year to pick up trash or cook fast food. What say you?

That's only $20/hr. That's only going to hold them off for another four or five years. You've got to go much, much, higher. People who pick up trash and cook fast food are just as important to our society as our Senators or Congressmen. It takes a village, remember? I'm thinking more along the lines of $150-200K. If it's good enough for the 1% then it's good enough for the 99% right?

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One is never completely useless. One can always serve as a bad example.

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glassman
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actaully? i think thy worth about twice as much as Senators or Congressmen

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Don't envy the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise.

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CashCowMoo
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quote:
Originally posted by buckstalker:
So CCM...Is it YOUR belief that people that pick up YOUR trash and cook YOUR food are a lower form of human life than say YOU?

quote:
Originally posted by CashCowMoo:
Hey Ray, I have an idea I think you would like. Lets just get rid of hourly wages and pay everyone a fair salary mandated by law. Minimum $40K a year to pick up trash or cook fast food. What say you?


No, why do you say that? What is your problem? Elevate your thinking, and stay out of the thought gutter.
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raybond
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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas will raise its own minimum wage to $10.25 an hour next month, paying for the increase with money originally devoted to executive bonuses.

The lowest-level employees at the hospital currently make $8.78 an hour, and the increase will give about 230 workers a raise. Those workers were already making more than Texas’s minimum wage, which is the same as the federal $7.25 an hour rate. The move also means that every worker employed by Dallas county, inside and outside the hospital, will make more than $10.25 an hour.

The wage increase will cost the hospital about $350,000 a year. The expense will be covered with money from the upcoming quarter’s bonus pool for the hospital’s 60 vice presidents and top executives. That pool was between $750,000 and $1.2 million in the most recent quarter, and it’s between $3 million and $5 million for the full year.

Dr. Jim Dunn, the hospital’s executive vice president and chief talent officer, told Modern Healthcare that the decision was made in the hopes of improving workers’ morale and to provide a living wage. “We really want, in any way possible, to break down any gaps or anything between the top leaders and those who are closest to our patients,” he said. “We feel like it’s the right thing to do.”

Raising wages can help businesses’ bottom lines, as it can improve efficiency, make it easier to recruit workers, and lower turnover. Losing employees to turnover is particularly expensive, as it can cost as much as 20 percent of a workers’ salary to replace her. Other companies have voluntarily raised their minimum wages lately, including retailer Gap, which boosted its lowest pay to $10 an hour.

Funding a raise with executive compensation also makes sense, given the growing disconnect between pay at the top and the bottom. CEOs’ pay is now 295.9 times the pay for their own workers, far higher than the 87.3-to-one ratio in the early 1990s. Average pay for a chief executive last year was $15.2 million, a 21.7 percent increase over 2010, while workers saw their pay fall by 1.3 percent in the same time. Corporate profits have also hit record highs as workers keep increasing their productivity, but they haven’t shared in that growth. If the minimum wage had kept up with rising productivity, it would be nearly $22 an hour, and if it had simply kept up with inflation since the 1960s it would be over $10 an hour.

President Obama and Congressional Democrats have pushed to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but it’s been stymied by Republicans. In light of that inaction, some states have taken matters into their own hands, and three have passed a $10.10 minimum wage while Vermont put its at $10.50.

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Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

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buckstalker
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quote:
Originally posted by CashCowMoo:
quote:
Originally posted by buckstalker:
So CCM...Is it YOUR belief that people that pick up YOUR trash and cook YOUR food are a lower form of human life than say YOU?

quote:
Originally posted by CashCowMoo:
Hey Ray, I have an idea I think you would like. Lets just get rid of hourly wages and pay everyone a fair salary mandated by law. Minimum $40K a year to pick up trash or cook fast food. What say you?


No, why do you say that? What is your problem? Elevate your thinking, and stay out of the thought gutter.
I didn't SAY anything...I ASKED a question
It was a tough question for you, I know...
I was fairly sure that I wouldn't get an answer from you when I asked
Please tell me why a garbage man should not make a living wage for his labor?

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buckstalker
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quote:
Originally posted by glassman:
actaully? i think thy worth about twice as much as Senators or Congressmen

I was thinking 4 to 5 times...

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***********************

It's all in the timing...

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CashCowMoo
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quote:
Originally posted by buckstalker:
quote:
Originally posted by CashCowMoo:
quote:
Originally posted by buckstalker:
So CCM...Is it YOUR belief that people that pick up YOUR trash and cook YOUR food are a lower form of human life than say YOU?

quote:
Originally posted by CashCowMoo:
Hey Ray, I have an idea I think you would like. Lets just get rid of hourly wages and pay everyone a fair salary mandated by law. Minimum $40K a year to pick up trash or cook fast food. What say you?


No, why do you say that? What is your problem? Elevate your thinking, and stay out of the thought gutter.
I didn't SAY anything...I ASKED a question
It was a tough question for you, I know...
I was fairly sure that I wouldn't get an answer from you when I asked
Please tell me why a garbage man should not make a living wage for his labor?

I never said a garbage man shouldnt make a living wage for his labor. Maybe I should start putting words in your mouth. Like, why should a garbage man be paid 100K? I dont look down on people who do tough jobs, but I also dont pity them so much that I feel so guilty to pay them more than what that skill is.

On a side note, speaking of guilt, if I had as much white guilt as you do I would go crazy.

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It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.

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raybond
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CREDIT: Flickr/Wisconsin Jobs Now

On Wednesday night, the Massachusetts House passed a bill that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2017. The Senate already passed that wage level, and after a procedural vote there it will head to Gov. Deval Patrick (D), who is expected to sign it into law.

An earlier Senate version of the bill would have also automatically increased the minimum wage as inflation rose, but that provision was dropped in the final version.

An $11 wage is the highest passed by any state this year. Eight other states have increased their wages so far: Delaware and West Virginia went above $8 an hour; Michigan went up to $9.25; Minnesota increased its wage to $9.50; Hawaii, Maryland, and Connecticut passed a $10.10 wage; and Vermont went to $10.50 an hour. The $10.10 an hour level is what President Obama and Congressional Democrats had pursued for a federal hike, but Republicans blocked the move.

While $11 an hour will be the highest state wage, some cities are going even further. Seattle will raise its wage to $15 an hour over ten years, and a nearby town already passed the same wage, although it’s currently being held up in court. Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco are all eyeing a $15 minimum wage as well.

While some worry that higher minimum wages will hurt jobs or businesses, states that already had high wages haven’t had that experience. Washington, which has the highest current wage at $9.32 an hour, experienced the biggest increase in small business employment last year. Over the 15 years since it increased its wage to a national high, job growth has remained at a steady, above average rate. All told, a comprehensive look at state minimum wage increases over two decades didn’t find evidence that they impacted job creation.

Ta

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raybond
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hey cash since you are so interested in what garbage men make 7 years ago in the state of Rhode Island they made $50.00 an hour I hope it is a lot more now. Oh, excuse me that was long island.

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CashCowMoo
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quote:
Originally posted by raybond:
hey cash since you are so interested in what garbage men make 7 years ago in the state of Rhode Island they made $50.00 an hour I hope it is a lot more now. Oh, excuse me that was long island.

Dont worry, your argument wont even matter before too long.


Chili's Has Installed More Than 45,000 Tablets in Its Restaurants

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/chilis-has-installed-more-than-45-000-tablets-in-its- 88988613459.html?soc_src=mags

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