Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drunks

Saturday, September 7, 2013

NY Times: Organized Labor "Looking to Washington State as a Model"

Posted by on Sat, Sep 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM

As organized labor attempts to reinvent itself in an effort to reverse its decline, many in the union movement are looking to Washington State—Seattle's paid sick leave ordinance and SeaTac's $15 an hour minimum wage initiative, for example—as a model of what is possible. Or at least, so says our nation's paper of record:

Many within labor are looking to Washington State as a model because of all the union community activity there. Unions, women’s groups, immigrant organizations and faith groups — joined by retiree and gay groups — successfully pushed Seattle’s City Council to enact a 2011 law requiring paid sick days. Labor in turn played a major role in persuading the state legislature to enact a same-sex marriage law and then in defeating a referendum aimed at overturning the law.

In recent months, Washington’s unions have worked with black ministers to fight foreclosures and find jobs for former prisoners. A Teamsters local is providing legal services and lobbying muscle to Seattle’s taxi drivers. Unions and MomsRising are pressing Tacoma’s City Council to enact a paid sick days law.

... Unions and community groups have joined forces to try to create the nation’s highest minimum wage through a referendum in SeaTac, a community south of Seattle. The proposal would establish a $15-an-hour minimum wage — more than twice the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum — for 6,500 workers at Sea-Tac International Airport and its nearby hotels and car rental agencies. The $15 wage would be 63 percent higher than Washington’s $9.19-an-hour minimum, already the highest state minimum wage.

I'm not sure most people in our local media fully understand the connection between Seattle's paid sick leave ordinance, SeaTac's "Good Jobs Initiative," the fast food strikes, Mayor Mike McGinn's stand against a West Seattle Whole Foods, and various other local labor actions. We could be witnessing history unfold, in our own back yards—either an important stage in the rebirth of America's labor movement, or perhaps the final death-rattle before the total victory of a capital.

Whatever the end result, these events are connected. For example, Seattle's paid sick leave ordinance helped inspired the initiative in SeaTac, which in addition to a $15 an hour minimum wage, mandates paid sick leave as well. And a victory in SeaTac will inevitably boost efforts for a higher minimum wage in Seattle. Meanwhile, the fast food strikes have helped to keep the plight of low-wage workers in front of voters and politicians in SeaTac, Seattle, and throughout the region. And of course these fast food strikers would be some of the main beneficiaries of ordinances that raise the minimum wage.

It is a very exciting time.


Comments (16) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
MrBaker 1
The navel gazing continues.
Posted by MrBaker on September 7, 2013 at 10:37 AM · Report this
"Mike McGinn's stand against a West Seattle Whole Foods" was and is an empty gesture, which had undeniable rhetorical value, but absolutely NO practical value.

McGinn was correct to raise the issue, but his actual statutory authority to, you know, DO anything about it, is a big fat ZERO. Nevertheless, stupid, stupid UFCW went all in for McGinn, even though his ability to, you know, actually DELIVER anything for them, is nil.

Meanwhile, McGinn's flacks, official and unofficial, continue to paint Ed Murray, who has a solid pro-labor record, and had one before Mike McGinn ever ran for office, as someone sent by ALEC and the Koch Brothers.

Labor's agenda will be on the front burner no matter who is mayor, but Murray has a better record of helping DELIVER for labor than a poseur like McGinn, desperately pandering for votes, will ever have.'

Posted by for labor on September 7, 2013 at 10:45 AM · Report this
mcginn says he's not for a citywide minimum wage and this issue should be handled at the state level, where nothing will be done. total chickenshit. he's into theatrics only. he's not even for a $15 min wage on CITY jobs!

what. the. fuck.

and he's okay with whole foods, till election time. ask him where his family shops, I bet it's PCC all the way.

iow $4 bell peppers. so radical. also love the fact he represented unions all his life and working people oh wait he didn't and he shilled for the public subsidy of the billionaire chris Hansen. he shills for cops who beat people up, often minorities. this isn't very left at all.
Posted by center right ain't left on September 7, 2013 at 1:01 PM · Report this
@1 It's a pretty good navel, tbh
Posted by Ruke on September 7, 2013 at 1:24 PM · Report this
@2 and @3 I invite you to look at the endorsements as listed at the candidates' own campaign websites. McGinn has a whole slew of labor unions plus the teachers' union and environmental groups. Murray has a teamster and some transit unions, but he mostly has a bunch of old-time politicians as well as the business groups - the establishment. Plus he has the damn Seattle (Bellevue) Times.

So, in other words, you're full of crap.

In addition, McGinn's mayoral record, which Murray has none, shows a city that faired pretty well while the rest of the country went down the crapper. I don't know why you fire a guy who's gotten the job done, unless you're the Big Money - the establishment - and you think somebody else would let you get more of your hand in the cookie jar.

Also, I wouldn't bet on Murray winning. That's the conventional wisdom, but that's just because Murray has the establishment's backing - the media and the money. However, McGinn has done too good a job, his policy positions better represent Seattle, and too many people know it. We're told repeatedly "Murray's going to win!" But that's just a bill of goods. If that was really obviously true, they wouldn't need to keep convincing us.
Posted by floater on September 7, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
We're repeatedly told, ad nauseum, that if we pay workers $15 an hour and give them benefits then society will collapse. It's so obvious! Right now, the highest minimum wage (and correct me if I'm wrong) is in San Francisco, while the highest state minimum wage, as stated in the post, is right here. Both places are doing fine. The states with the lowest minimum wage? Minnesota, Wyoming, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Puerto Rico (not really a state, of course, but it fits my argument), Georgia, New Hampshire. I like Minnesota and New Hampshire (hell, parts of South Carolina are downright beautiful), but, by and large, you don't see these places thriving. If a low minimum wage meant more and better jobs then the South would be the economic powerhouse of the nation. Everybody would be moving there. Well, they're not.

Maybe we won't improve on the rights of workers nationwide, but if we can have little islands where the living is good, then those islands can serve as the examples of what happens when you move more of the general wealth back to the workers, as opposed to stealing it from them and concentrating it on the top with the promise that it'll "trickle down". Right... Their urine is the only thing that trickles down.
Posted by floater on September 7, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
So on the continuation down this road, what about an initiative to cap public salaries at something line 20 times the average state public salary? Last I looked, that would put the cap somewhere around $750,000, granted, a little high in my book, but lets get the conversation started, right? Goldy, you have experience with the initiative process, is this feasible? Where do you suggest one starts with something like this?
Posted by eweb on September 7, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
MrBaker 8
Boeing hires grade 4 mechanics to build airplanes at … wait for it, ok, $15 an hour.…

Somehow Boeing is able to pay $15 an hour, provide paid sick leave, and medical benefits.
Posted by MrBaker on September 7, 2013 at 3:24 PM · Report this

why just $15, you cheap bastard.

why not make the minimum wage $35?

you miserly piece of shit.
Posted by why do you hate working people? asshole. on September 7, 2013 at 4:02 PM · Report this
@9 Why $7.25, you cheap bastard? Why not $15? Why do you hate workers so much?
Posted by floater on September 7, 2013 at 4:50 PM · Report this
There is a candidate that is going to fight for $15/hr min. wage if elected. Kshama Sawant. I also like floater's point. A higher minimum wage puts money into the pockets of low-wage earners who spend almost, if not all of their earnings into the local economy. But then again, the fast food industry's record profits might take a hit and that wouldn't look good in to investors, so...
Posted by bogart14 on September 7, 2013 at 7:08 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 12
This is a fantasy right?

Seattle is in the hands of the petit bourgeois and greedy land owners and rentiers.

Local government seeks to drain the wealth of the workingman with high sales taxes while funneling it all to those would put them into 125 sq. ft. kennel apodments.

The average workingman at a plant in Memphis, living on a 2 acre spread, with 4 to 5 vehicles ends up with much greater pure wealth than his beleaguered Seattle counterpart!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on September 7, 2013 at 8:11 PM · Report this

so. you got nothing to add?

we don't hate workers. we sign paychecks every week; most for three times your wet-dream $15 minimum wage.

but we don't do it out of charity.

we are able to do it because we run a business in such a way that our employees can create that much wealth for themselves, plus enough left over to run the business.

how many paychecks to you sign?

how many employees do you provide jobs for?

why don't you do the planet a favor and shut your ignorant pie-hole.
Posted by Employers are the Working Man's Best Friend. on September 8, 2013 at 7:28 AM · Report this
ah yes, san Francisco is a hellhole of despair, with rents falling so much because so many buxinesses went out of business, people are leaving for the lower cost climes of Mississippi, Guatemala, and somlia, have you read about how the lack of minimum wage there is drawing talent, wealth and investment, while SF NYC CT MD NJ CA and all the high tax high wage states, ditto Germany and Switzerland, are just failing and falling into anarchy as people literally have to shoot dogs to find food to eat?

we need to repeal the minimum wage and go back to free labor contracting with no minimum wage and no rules like one. in the earlier era, this meant employers could do deals like this one: "hey peasant! I will let you in the castle when the Vikings come, but other times you work for me, half the year, oh also you and your kids can't leave my lands and I can fuck your wife whenever I want" and the peasants having no choice agreed. That's what the free labor market got us. that's the real minimum wage in free market conditions. this is what conservatives want. did you note that in feudalism everyone had a "job"? even grandma remained a serf for life.
Posted by arguing against assholes on September 8, 2013 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Bailo, sometimes your posts almost, sort of make sense.

@12 is not one of them. In fact, it's about as incoherent a statement as you've ever posted.

Please, in future, for your own sake, if for no one else's, do not post in the midst of a vodka-and-Vicodin binge...
Posted by COMTE on September 8, 2013 at 11:22 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 16
Comte, sometimes I really wish Slog had a like button. As in, when I read your post @15.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on September 8, 2013 at 12:09 PM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy