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Thursday, March 27, 2014

What If We Made Only Businesses with $1 Billion in Yearly Sales Pay $15 Minimum Wage?

Posted by on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Dave Meinert owns several Seattle bars and restaurants. An editorial he's writing specifically about total compensation will appear next week in The Stranger, as part of a series of minimum wage op-eds from activists, business owners, low-wage workers, and other experts. If you have an editorial you'd like to submit, send it here.

I've been very involved in hearing all sides of how to enact a $15 minimum wage in Seattle. I'm a restaurant owner and I'm on the mayor's minimum wage committee. There are some common themes I keep hearing.

1. The proponents of $15 have always said they are targeting large business like Target, not small local businesses. Target does $72 billion in sales annually. McDonald's does $28 billion. Burger King, $1.15 billion. For comparison, one of the most successful Seattle restaurant companies, Tom Douglass Restaurants, which owns and operates 15 different restaurants, did a total of $46 million in sales last year.

2. There is much debate about complex details—phasing-in, exemptions, total compensation, etc. Many people on the mayor's minimum wage committee state that these are too complex and we should have a simpler policy.

3. Most low-wage workers work for large businesses, businesses with sales over $1 billion per year.

4. Labor is literally freaking out about including tips in total compensation, but this is crucial for small business and we're possibly at an impasse.

So in an effort to keep it simple, focus on who we're targeting instead of who we exempt, take tips and total compensation off the table, and get to $15 as soon as possible without phasing, here's my idea: Go to $15 minimum wage next year only for businesses with annual gross revenue over $1 billion.

The majority of people making under $15 would immediately go to $15. And most importantly—the employers not required to pay $15 would have to find a way to keep employees. They would have to raise wages, but also might increase benefits, be a better company, or offer more satisfying work. Small businesses would have to find a way to compete in the labor market with big businesses, but they could be flexible in how they do it.

This might sound a little crazy or radical—but this is exactly the ordinance the Washington DC's city council passed last year that their mayor vetoed. It was called the Large Retailer Accountability Act. It was written by and backed by labor—UFCW and SEIU—and the living wage movement. It only increased the wage to $12.50, so the real radical idea here is that we’d be going to $15. We've seen that we can set different wages for small and large businesses in SeaTac. So it's legal. It would also allow us to end the debate now, as I think most small businesses would support this.

 

Comments (152) RSS

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Jill on the Hill 157
What If We Made Only Businesses with $1 Billion in Yearly Sales Pay $15 Minimum Wage?

All the locations would be single location businesses with ownership split up between layers of Management Companies & Holding companies. The parent company would not be the one hiring the workers. Yes, I do know how this works.
Just like you have your various businesses set up Dave.

70% support among voters for raising the Minimum Wage.
15now is filling their ballot initiative Monday.

Ramp up to $15,
Employers pay the $15 wage
Don't force workers to pay their own wages out of their tips.
Posted by Jill on the Hill on April 13, 2014 at 11:36 PM · Report this
156
You got someone to post numbers in the other thread you're commenting on. I'm assuming you just don't like them...or you don't want to believe them...or you believe they're being made up to make your argument look bad. Either way, you're ignoring them, and that seems to imply that no matter what numbers you are given, you don't actually care what they are.

(And p.s. even servers are commenting that they make money just fine with tips with current wage...$15Now should cede the tip credit argument and make their argument without it. Many servers are doing just fine and I don't think really want to give people ammunition to reexamine tipping. Factory workers, cleaning staff, unskilled labor; those are the people you should be making this case for. Drop the tip credit argument, the servers are going to be fine, your argument and case will be stronger for it)

But I digress. Here, I'll paste those numbers (purportedly from the owner of Liberty) below:

-----------

You didn't understand my point. I meant, even if I just posted it somewhere, how would people see it? How would people know about it? Want me to post it here? Sure - here:

Total Cost of Goods Sold (TCoGS) = 94.2% of Income

- Labor: 27.2% (Includes Liberty's portion of payroll taxes, which is $53K)
- CoGS - Labor = 67%

So, this means that if my labor goes up by 60%, without being able to affect my costs much, if at all, that will cause my Labor to then be 43.5% of my TCoGS... This then puts me UNDER by 16%, BEFORE my specific CoGS rise.

The assumption, after talking to my purveyors is that our costs will go up by no less than 10%...So, if we add ANOTHER 10% on my CoGS, that'll add another 7% to my TCoGS, which will then put me UNDER my income now by 24%. So, before make ONE DOLLAR, at $15/hr. MW, without any carveouts for the income that servers make in tips, I am under by 24%, which means that I'll have to raise my prices by 24%.

You wanted numbers? There they are. I am looking at my General P/L of 2013.

“Okay. Do it.”

“Okay”, I did.

There you go. My prices go up by 24% before I add ONE PENNY in profit…So, if by following this model I add the ~6% in net profits…that means that I’ll have to raise my prices by 30%...just to stay even. Thusly, that Gin & Tonic? It’s now $6.50. That Moscow Mule? $10.50.

So. There’r the numbers. 30%.

Now, some restaurants with more controlled costs compared to Liberty will be able to make this number be lower – perhaps even by 10%. Then, if they are able to have a greater net profit, they may be able to eat a little of their profits and lower the total cost and thus rise in prices…they may be closer to 15% in a price increase…

You wanted prices? There you are.

-------
More...
Posted by tempo36 on March 31, 2014 at 10:42 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 155
@154

You know what's an awful tactic? Staring down the barrel of an initiative for a solid $15/hr to take effect January 15, which enjoys 68% support of likely voters, and not offering any data at all to undermine it. No facts. Just fear.

Instead of showing actual facts that would convince us that jobs will be lost or businesses destroyed, we're instead told that poverty isn't a big deal and low paid workers don't deserve a living wage and they're lazy and stupid anyway. Oh, and Meinert has it all figured out: he insists he really supports $15/hr while pretending that his cutouts for tip penalties and health insurance penalties and who knows what else don't in fact mean he's saying he won't have to pay $15/hr.

That's the plan? You guys need some facts. You need some data. At least open your books and show us how this pencils out.

You know, Linda Derschang's favorite book is Atlas Shrugged. I think it's time to go Galt. Sort of like when you're losing at Monopoly and so you tip the board over. Because 15Now is going to pass if somebody doesn't think of something. And then the momentum is going to really build.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 30, 2014 at 9:15 PM · Report this
154
153 - awful discussion tactic. "Your errors speak for themselves?"

What are you disagreeing with? The wage paid at the business, that tip credit didn't effect factory workers...
Posted by tempo36 on March 30, 2014 at 9:02 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 153
@151

No comment. Your errors speak for themselves.

@152

Only 8%. Only!

See, you don't give a shit about poor people. That's why you're going to lose when this is put to a vote. You're on the wrong side. There's a couple dozen "business friendly" states where they pay $7.25 per hour. It's not like there won't be anywhere for you to go.

The corner you're painted into is that you want to do business in a dynamic, cosmopolitan, creative blue city, like Seattle, but you don't want to pay the price. And low wage places like Houston, where capitalism gets all respect, are no place for you to do business. This is your fundamental contradiction. The very people you have such contempt for are the ones who create the kind of market you can thrive in. What you don't want to believe is that you need us more than we need you. Watch what happens when it comes time to vote.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 30, 2014 at 8:08 PM · Report this
152
Your report also says that 8% of minimum wage workers are on food stamps and only 2% are on welfare so there goes your 'gov't subsidized labor' argument.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 30, 2014 at 5:32 PM · Report this
151
Removing a tip credit is not the same as raising the minimum wage. Retail and manufacturing employees did not see wages go up. So again, it hasn't been done before.

And if (by your own research) Seattle's current minimum wage is already above the poverty line, I fail to see how increasing it will bring people out of poverty.

Don't ever talk about someone's employees when you don't have the first clue. My lowest paid employee makes $20 before benefits and bonuses. My highest paid clear more than myself most months.

You're having trouble reading even your own research. It's too bad you have such a closed mind and such hate for small business owners. Try introducing yourself and meeting a couple to see their perspective. It's good to see both sides of the argument.

You're more than welcome to come down to my shop and have a chat. But please remember, I am a proponent of raising the minimum wage.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 30, 2014 at 5:23 PM · Report this
150
Smarm seems to be the go-to rhetorical safety blanket for the anti-15'ers, with Seattle91 being the most straightforward example. The essay "On Smarm" was referenced on Slog a few months ago, and it almost seems like required reading now.

"What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves.

Smarm would rather talk about anything other than smarm. Why, smarm asks, can't everyone just be nicer?"

Look at how Seattle91 pretends to be the adult in the room, exhibiting a deep concern that, "...name calling, condescension and ridicule takes this serious subject to an ugly place." She then reminds those posters presenting factual evidence that, "Devaluing someone's opinion is not how Seattleites conduct themselves."

Yet, when pushed, she finally reveals her reactionary position. "The only answer to an unbalanced amount of idealism is pragmatism at every turn," she says. "And, just a reminder," she reprimands, "I am not against $15. I am against $15Now," while also taking time to remind us that, "[Sawant] doesn’t abide by capitalism as a rule. This is poison."

Seattle91's ideological slant couldn't be more obvious - this debate is more about Sawant and 15Now than helping anyone out of poverty. Her concern is empty; it's all smarm. The bully is playing the victim. They'll try to flip the narrative again, calling labor and Sawant the real bullies for demanding a living wage, for trying to make sure workers actually get paid $15 instead of $12.50, or even $10, dressed up as $15. That's just the nature of smarm.
Posted by Chareth Cutestory on March 30, 2014 at 3:33 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 149
@148

We once made restaurants raise tipped employees' wages by 85%. It has been done. It had ZERO effect. Eighty-five percent. ZERO impact. It has been done. You can keep saying it has never been done, and every time, you will be told again, it HAS been done.

Nobody ever said this will address poverty in its entirety. Since when must any policy address any problem in its entirety? We'll never let that stop us from making the world a little bit better. It will lift thousands out of poverty. Thousands. Tens of thousands. That's more than enough benefit to balance the purely hypothetical losses that didn't happen in Australia or San Francisco or Washington in past wage increases. And beyond the workers in Seattle who will get out of poverty, it will push wages up across the board, and outside of the city. Other cities will be inspired to raise their wages to $15/hr too.

You know how small business owners could have reached higher wages responsibly? Pay your workers more. What was stopping you? You guys chose to do nothing and now it's going to go to an up or down vote and we know how that will turn out. The wage will take effect January 15, 2015.

You all saw this coming last year. You could have started phasing it in then, but instead you want to see if you can get the Mayor to override the will of the voters. Problem is, Murray isn't that clever and he doesn't owe you much. So, get ready. You've been warned.

You should have seen this coming when Martin Luther King demanded $2/hr in 1963. That's over $15/hr in today's dollars. That's for the whole country, not just Seattle. The responsible thing would have been to start making plans for this 50 years ago. You can't crush people under your boot forever: you have to have an exit strategy.
More...
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 30, 2014 at 1:29 PM · Report this
148
You cannot seriously think you will be addressing poverty in its entirety by raising the minimum wage. If we are going by 'living wage' models, those models must take into account people working full time. So I'm right.

And you have no idea whether or not it will hurt small business because it hasn't been done. You have no record of a 61% increase in minimum wage across the board. All you have is the removal of a tip credit. Minimum wage should be higher. But it should reach that level responsibly.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 30, 2014 at 10:23 AM · Report this
147
@145, I fully regret ever mentioning love, but let me try this one more time. I do not care whether business owners love what they do or not. If they are my friends, I care that they are happy, but when it comes to making legislation, it means nothing. My point is this, and this only. When a business owner expands from one shop/restaurant/brewpub to two, the expansion is about the owner's profit. That's fine. But the argument (see @126) that poverty wages are helpful because they allow the business-owner-pursuing-his-dreams to rapidly expand really doesn't hold any emotional weight with me. I mentioned love because I wanted to be clear that we are setting the 'labor of love' appeal aside at that point.

You would like to bring the 'labor of love' appeal back, it seems. Well, it's lovely for business owners when they do what they love and no doubt spiritually great that they are willing to work for low income themselves for that purpose. This means nothing about whether they should pay other people a living wage or not.

I agree that the thrust of the debate should now be about phasing in. I am not sure @126 or @142 are on this same page, though. Lots of people are still arguing that workers should be grateful to business owners for providing poverty wage jobs. It's nonsense. As you know, business owners who participate in that system help to lower the wage market to the point where people can't survive. No matter how many microbrews, tchotchkes or special coffee beans are now for sale, poverty wages are bad for 'culture and diversity'.
Posted by diner mo on March 30, 2014 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 146
@144

Nope.

"40 percent of Seattle’s minimum-wage earners live in families at or below
the federal poverty level".


And going above the federal poverty line is in now way a living wage for Seattle.

Even if this did harm small business (it doesn't) and even if it replaces hiptser bars and boutique bike shops with corporate chains (it doesn't), lifting the families of 40,000 to 50,000 workers out of poverty is worth it.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 30, 2014 at 9:21 AM · Report this
145
@141 the low wage worker has as many paths to higher income as most business owners. It's a lot easier to educate, or train yourself into a better job than it is to make a business successful.

And there's more to it than just money. Many of these small business owners could be making more and working less for a larger company. Many left better paying jobs. Part of it is the potential for reward, yes. But a larger part is the ability to do what they love. I think you would be surprised if you found out how much the average small business owner actually makes. It definitely is a 'labor of love'. And profits are not the end all be all of everyone's efforts.

What they provide the community goes beyond monetary value as well. So many contribute culture and diversity. But they have to pay a good wage to do so, no one is arguing that. The only thing being discussed is that it shouldn't happen overnight, it should be phased in.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 30, 2014 at 8:12 AM · Report this
144
@140 those articles you posted define poverty at a certain level. Seattle current minimum wage is already above that. And everyone here is trying to raise it more.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 30, 2014 at 8:05 AM · Report this
143
@142... Dearie me, you really aren't getting my point. Let me make this super clear. I do not think that business owners should just do what they love. I think business owners should work to viable business plans that start with a few basic inviolable rules, including paying a living wage, keeping insurance, following health and safety regulations, and paying tax. These rules are or need to be the price of admission. If you cannot do those things and make a profit that you are comfortable with in relation to your risk, then it's not your party. Sorry. I don't think it's easy. And I don't think it's about what anyone 'deserves'. It's about making sure that those with access to capital don't get on the profit expansion train by exploiting those who don't have access to capital.

I do not think that everyone who starts a business borrows money from rich relatives. Some borrow from friends, some borrow from banks or find other investors, some have their own funds. But the example we started with @126 explicitly mentioned borrowing from relatives and friends who are okay with a slow payback. That's a lucky guy, don't you think? Surely you know not every minimum wage earner has those kinds of friends and relatives? And so why should his workers make poverty wages in order to further subsidise his climb?
Posted by diner mo on March 30, 2014 at 6:15 AM · Report this
142
Diner, you don't understand business owners either. You're saying that they should just "do what they love" because clearly trying to grow the business shows that they are just in it for the $$$. Tell me...why do you think MOST people work. Clearly the folks backing 15Now would not be interested in a small business owner telling them "I can only pay you $13...but you'll be doing something you love!"

Just as their workers do not exist simply to earn the business owner money, the business owner does not exist simply to pay others and take financial risks on their behalf. Businesses try and expand themselves because that's part of the goal of a business. It grows, it becomes sustainable, maybe it gets sold someday. You're right, it's not a labor of love...and you're also right that you clearly don't care whether the business owner is doing well or not. You seem to love this idea that if a business can't be run the way that you think it should, that it deserves to be shuttered. But please, by all means, go start your own and show all of us how easy it is to do it "right."

I suspect that people are not eager to see the multiple paths out that business owners have...a prominent one includes shuttering the business and letting Starbucks move into the empty space.

p.s. Do you really think that everyone who starts a business is just borrowing money off their rich relatives? Go say that to the face of a random small business owner.
Posted by tempo36 on March 29, 2014 at 11:06 PM · Report this
141
@137 You... didn't understand what I wrote. I couldn't care less whether business owners are doing what they love or not. My point is precisely that love is NOT what motivates business owners to expansion, despite what we hear about 'lifelong dreams', 'blood and sweat', 'passion', etc. It's about money, let's be clear. My point is that this principle of ever-expanding profits, what you are calling a 'generally fundamental business principle,' is NOT a god-given right *regardless of what business owners pay their workers*. Otherwise, I could say 'actually, my business is only profitable if I pay workers in vouchers on good weeks, and the job market's fine with that, so, that's how it will be. After all, I took this 'risk' by borrowing money off my wealthy relatives, so I deserve profit and I deserve it now!'

Employees who are guaranteed a minimum wage pegged to realistic living costs are not going to be making 'good money'. They are going to be making enough to survive. If a business owner with access to capital has to wait another year to expand, or come up with a different business model, they still have multiple paths out of their temporary low-income situation. They don't get to exploit others just because they had a bad idea or a bad season.
Posted by diner mo on March 29, 2014 at 10:02 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 140
@139

Poverty kills.

Researchers Link Deaths to Social Ills. New York Times.

"Death by Poverty?" Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Poverty or income inequality as predictor of mortality: longitudinal
cohort study.
British Medical Journal.

Urban poverty and infant mortality rate
disparities.
Journal of the National Medical Association.

You're welcome. No doubt you'll tell yourself all those kids dying in poverty in the US deserved it. Your contempt for low wage workers is why 15Now is going to pass in a landslide.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 29, 2014 at 12:49 PM · Report this
138
@136 is right.

All the rhetoric and yelling and screaming needs to chill out if we can actually have a productive conversation on dealing with the minimum wage debate. I see amazing opportunity in this if it is done right.

There is a collective agreement that minimum wages should go up. Small businesses are already saying they currently pay above minimum wage. Where they part ways with $15Now movement is to it Starting January 15th for all businesses and organizations. For restaurants they are paying taxes on the tip income whether their serving staff claims it or not and there is legitimate concern especially if their servers are already averaging $20 in tips per hour while their back end staff don't have the same luxury. All employers pay additional percentage in taxes for all employees. So $15 is never just $15. Budgets will have to adjust just like in a normal household.

The real question is how do we do it with the lowest impact on the very people it is supposed to help and the community at large. If the end goal is to get everyone not only to $15 an hour but also have it be sustainable, shouldn't that be the focus? If a phase in is already a possibility how does it get implemented? Who determines what is a small business? Can we go by existing parameters? such as what the SBA determines to be a small business? Couldn't we start with a smaller collective increase as of January that is in line with living wage and inflation for small businesses and non-profits of the same size and immediate increase for all the actual abusers such as Walmart? Then have the small businesses move towards the same end goal of $15 within 5 years? That allows non-profits to adjust their ability to get funding. Small businesses would need to compete anyways for high skilled quality workers and also prepare themselves for the inevitable hike and adjust their business models. If you look at organizations that help the homeless they would also have an opportunity to adjust their thresholds for what income levels are considered under the line of Poverty.

More...
Posted by 2525 on March 29, 2014 at 10:18 AM · Report this
137
@135

Wait, so small business owners are supposed to forego making money because they're "just doing what they love?"

But those employees....gotta make sure they're making good money, because they're just trying to make rent!

Sarcasm aside, you're demonstrating a lack of knowledge about a generally fundamental business principle. If you do not build value of some kind in your business, it will eventually die. Unless your plan is to work until you die (and then watch the business die) or to let it close when you no longer have the energy, businesses must grow to retain value. The goal of most intelligently run businesses is to eventually have the capital and commercial value to be sold to someone else when you retire...or possibly passed on to children. But a business that does none of these things is merely a dead end. Why would someone put in so much blood and sweat (as was narrated above) to make the exact same living as working for someone else. No risk!
Posted by tempo36 on March 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM · Report this
136
@133 and all

Yes. It is a fucking shit show and it is going to get much worse until cooler heads prevail. There is no winning, it is not black and white. And legislation is not written in an internet forum. Seattle is part of the ongoing national test study for the minimum wage debate. Locally, we haven't yet heard the other side. The name calling, condescension and ridicule takes this serious subject to an ugly place. Devaluing someone's opinion is not how Seattleites conduct themselves. I truly wish we could get past the first layer to the meat of the issues.

I am listening and what I hear is this:

Pro tips as wages: Many servers are not the low wage workers we are trying to help.

Against tips as wages: nationwide, there are unjust laws related to service workers. Don't roll back where Washington is already ahead.

Got it. Now let's try to find a solution that will address both of these concerns.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 29, 2014 at 7:44 AM · Report this
135
@126 This narrative says more than a lot of stuff on this thread, and I'm glad you shared it. I think its assumptions are common to a lot of the small business owners writing here who don't want to pay $15.

It's great that brewpub guy had a business idea and had friends and family with enough cash to support him. Why does he assume that therefore expansion is his right, regardless of whether his idea and investment is profitable enough for him to pay employees a living wage? Why does he assume that expansion within a particular period of time is his right? Why does he assume that his timeline for expansion is more important than wages?

I know the idea of expansion is that one day soon you'll bump up the profit margin to the point where you and your family live easily. Clearly that is the idea, because it's not about doing what you love, or you'd be satisfied with just one brewpub, and it's not about altruism, or you'd care about employee wages. This business model, as you write it, buys the owner's access to expanding profits (and there's no upper cap on those) at the direct expense of his workers' access to a living wage. How is that right? Are you really sure that people 'just don't understand'?
Posted by diner mo on March 29, 2014 at 1:45 AM · Report this
134
If we could figure out a way for the targets and the Walmarts of the area to pay for the added costs to small business, that would be a win/win as everyone would still have that $15/min and it would also level the playing field a bit between small business and big business.
Posted by DJSauvage on March 28, 2014 at 9:25 PM · Report this
133
Such a fucking shit show...oh well most service work will be done by robots eventually and we'll be back to square one...guaranteed minimum income is the only way to solve income inequality.
Posted by j2patter on March 28, 2014 at 6:24 PM · Report this
132
@117 - Oh please. You're going to, with a straight face, say that tipping is just a "social norm" and that folks are free to stop tipping and that they're just imagining the look from their servers? I've traveled in lots of countries where there is no tipping as well as ones where there is tipping...and none of the latter except the US have the kind of entitlement that US folks seem to have about deserving a tip each and every time.

Honestly, I have no guilt about not tipping, but I DO tip (and pretty well) because I can afford to and I do think that in general tipped employees are paid too little, and I try and fill a bit of the gap in since I can. But I don't give tips simply because a person is doing the job that they are paid to do. I don't get tipped for doing my job well (nor do I get the much celebrated "bonus" that lots of people think all of us are getting), the guy at Home Depot doesn't get tipped well for doing his job well...why, if the minimum wage increases across the board do we plan to still endorse the social norm of tipping? And please...you're kidding yourself if you think that tipped positions will be putting signs on the doors encouraging people to stop tipping once minimum wage goes up.

In case you think I'm imagining all those arguments for tipping to make a fair wage...most of these articles are also advocating raising the base wage (and the unspoken conclusion is that tipping is necessary because the wage is poor...so one would assume logically if the wage is better that tipping is no longer required)

http://foodriot.com/2013/11/21/tip-serve…

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/201…

http://jezebel.com/5982011/fuck-you-if-y…
More...
Posted by tempo36 on March 28, 2014 at 5:32 PM · Report this
rdub 131
@128
It should be very apparent that 116 is a 15Now Shill.
Posted by rdub on March 28, 2014 at 5:20 PM · Report this
130
@108 Thank you.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 28, 2014 at 4:45 PM · Report this
129
@89

You may be bloated, but I'm really starting to like where you are going. Really.
Posted by Seattle91 on March 28, 2014 at 4:36 PM · Report this
128
@116 - Why such hate? Did some small business owner fire you or something? You've called us all liars so what difference would it make if we showed you our own particular books? Curious though, how much should a business owner be allowed to earn on their investment?

Again, not that you are rational about this, however, no minimum wage earners have showed us their personal financial information, nor should they be goaded into doing that. We have survey information. There is plenty of that also available about small businesses. You can obtain that information easily. Not that the data will matter because in your mind we are all liars. You are aware of the failure rate of small business, aren't you?
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 28, 2014 at 4:34 PM · Report this
127
@107 - I don't know what you are talking about? My point was I have a business. It is my job. You say it isn't valid if I can't pay what you demand I pay, despite the fact that my employees (the majority) are not on any public assistance and are not living in poverty.

You are saying if we don't do what is demanded (raise wages 60%) to support the people who are unable to create any viable skill set that would earn them more money themselves, then none of have jobs.

You are choosing the winners and the losers. If I lose my business, it will be a loss to my community and my employees, I'll get over it. I'll have a lot more free time and less stress.
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 28, 2014 at 4:28 PM · Report this
126
I have a feeling a lot of people have no know idea what it is like starting and running a small business. Most people don't start out saying "I have a lot of money, I wonder how I can exploit a lot of low wage workers and make even more money". Generally speaking, it is usually the opposite. Consider a typical brewpub in Seattle; it basically goes down like this:

1) Go the bank and try and borrow some money. The bank laughs at you (they make jokes about Kickstarter).

2) You borrow money from friends and family (nothing could go wrong with that).

3) After months of searching, you finally find a place that looks decent. They charge an enormous amount for rent, but that is just Seattle.

4) With the place in hand, you apply for the needed regulatory permits. You wait. And wait. And wait some more. You've been a lifelong left wing Democrat, but it is enough to turn you into a Republican (not they have ever done anything to make life easier for small business). Just when Ron Paul starts looking good, you finally get your license to make beer (you had to wait so long because making beer is oh, so dangerous (you should have opened up a gun shop)).

5) You are open for business. Woo hoo!

6) Business is slow. This is no surprise, since over 50% of the businesses fail in the first year. Your friends and family aren't getting their money back anytime soon, but they are OK with it (luckily).

7) Business picks up. All those years making kick-ass homebrew and studying the shit about brewing are paying off. You can finally start paying the people who loaned you money. You can finally give yourself a decent wage. Still not equal to minimum wage, but it beats working at Target.

8) As business continues to pick up, you contemplate hiring someone. After all, you've been working six days a week, twelve hours a day for about a year. You want to be able to come in late or leave early once in a while. You run the numbers and ...

Say fuck it, and go back to Target.

Just kidding, you hire someone. You pay them a bit more than minimum wage because you want someone good and you think minimum wage is too low. So, you pay them 12 bucks an hour, and they keep all the tips (naturally).

9) Business continues to get better, and you expand. You open up another brewpub and hire more people to run it.

Now see what happens if:

10) The city raises the minimum wage to $15.

11) You give all of your employees a five dollar raise (remember, none of them made minimum wage before). You might be able to get by with paying them minimum, but would have trouble getting new, good people at that wage (and you want to make sure your more experienced people make more than that).

12) You run the numbers and realize you can't make a decent income without increasing your prices. So, you do.

13) Customers walk into the store and say "Wow -- $8 a pint. What a ripoff. Let's just buy a six pack and drink it at home. I saw some good beer from Descuttes on sale".

14) Your expansion plans are scuttled. The place you were considering is leased to a bank. You consider opening up a new store in Shoreline.

OK, a bit of an exaggeration, but not really. Go talk to a small business (take your pick). A few of them get seed money from some other business (e. g. they made a bunch of money in software and decided to open a restaurant) but generally speaking, this is how it goes. Most small business owners make way less than minimum wage at first. If they are successful, they expand, and can make a decent living. Typically they make less than your recent software grad, but still, a decent living.

I'm not saying saying this or that about the specific proposal, I'm just saying that calling businesses like these "leaches" because they pay some of their employees something close to minimum wage is ridiculous. Likewise, the cost can not be simply measured by focusing on only those that make less than the minimum wage. This is one of the good things about raising the minimum wage (it raises the wages of lots more people). But this is a double edged sword, and assuming that there would be no cost to businesses (or no loss of business if they raised prices accordingly) is really naive. Of course there is a cost. The big question is how to do this while balancing the needs of small businesses. I'm not sure if this proposal makes the most sense, but I think it is reasonable. More than anything, I think the guy who proposed it deserves more respect. My guess is the people who bad mouth him have never tried to open a small business, or know people who have.
More...
Posted by Ross on March 28, 2014 at 4:06 PM · Report this
125
@123 I've never said the failure of the housing market was the fault of homeowners, simply that some folks that bought homes as the bubble was building probably couldn't actually afford the homes they bought, just as businesses that can only operate in the black if they get subsidized wages are not truly viable.
Posted by DJSauvage on March 28, 2014 at 3:56 PM · Report this
124
@119 mistook you for someone else. My apologies. Removing a tip credit still is not raising wages across the board. You still have no example.

@120 I agree with you. Minimum wage should be much higher, and I see the benefits.

@121 I'm sorry, did the employees' wages at mcdonalds change in 1988? And I never said anything about tips. I don't own a restaurant.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 28, 2014 at 3:40 PM · Report this
guerre 123
@115 I appreciate the sentiment, but your analogy was false. The failure of the housing market was a construct of wall street/banks, *not* homeowners. See http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11691…
Posted by guerre on March 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
guerre 122
It sounds like the solution is simple, if the job creators can't raise wages, and the rent won't stop rising, them job takers (tm) can just move to Yakima and enjoy their 3 hours-one-way commute. The free hand of the market solves it all!
Posted by guerre on March 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM · Report this
121
@89 Agreed on all counts. I'm not tipping YOU, marian, and it's unfair as fuck if you take the money that I am giving my waitress and claim that that transaction is part of your paying her minimum wage.

@118 Here's server wages going up 81%. In Seattle. http://bit.ly/1rMjENM

Business owners are arguing back against this attack on them. While this is understandable, as it's directly impacting your bottom-line, you have to realize that the the voters really don't care about your business. This isn't about sticking it to Walmart, with your business getting caught in the crossfire. This is 100% about making sure that people who work in Seattle can afford to live in Seattle. You're not going to make any headway in this argument until you stop defending yourself and start making suggestions that include your workers making a living wage. Otherwise, we don't care what you have to say, and we'll stick $15NOW on the ballot, and damn the consequences.

Posted by Ruke on March 28, 2014 at 2:28 PM · Report this
120
@118 you haven't answered my question @111 or @63. No where have I heard you guys entertain the notion that increased wages also corresponds to an expanded customer base.
Posted by Upchuck on March 28, 2014 at 2:19 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 119
@118

Who the fuck is Jason? Are you drunk? Simple god damn question.

In 1988 Initiative 518 increased tipped employees wages by a whopping 85% The very industry that supposedly needs the tip penalty is the one what took an 85% wage hike without missing a beat. Right here in Washington. And not just rich Seattle. Spokane too. Pasco. Wenachee.

I think jobs will survive because minimum wage increases have never cost jobs. Never.

I'm not the only one saying you guys have no data. Everyone is pointing at the same elephant in the room: you guys lack data. You're making hypotheticals and hiding your data. Labor has open books and labor has a metric ton of data.

I don't get tired of repeating it. I enjoy pointing out how flimsy and dishonest your arguments are. Please, go on.

At the very least you could tell me who the hell Jason is. It's common courtesy. Tell me or I'm going to start calling you "Chauncey".
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 28, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
118
All you have is answers! I've answered every question and you've dodged. You can't find one instance where the minimum wage was increased 61% yet you insist it won't harm businesses. You don't believe them because their financial statements are not public record. No one here is advocating to keep wage where it is, we are just trying to follow all those proven models you are so fond of in raising it. How do you think jobs will survive with such discontent for business? Would you prefer the gov't run everything? I meant to type something else, there's your answer.

Again, any businesses worth keeping? Any doing the right thing?
Posted by marianbuilt on March 28, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 117
@114

At some point we have to ask what exactly is meant by "stopping mandatory [sic] tipping". And the "guilt". How exactly is Ed Murray & Co going to control how much guilt you feel? Is the Mayor and the Council going to pass a law against a stiffed server giving you the stinkeye? Or you imagining that they are?

Tipping is not mandatory. It's a social norm. If you want to stop tipping, then stop tipping. No minimum wage law can control what you do or what tipped employees feel about it, or what you feel about what you did.

The IRS taxes employees based on the average tips recorded at an establishment, but if you and everybody else stop tipping, then the average goes down and it's not taxed. So tipping is still in your hands.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 28, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 116
@109

I bring my penis to meetings but that's not the same as letting everybody look at it. That costs extra.

But yes. I want to see the god damn books. I want somebody to show their books. Since no wage increase in the past has caused a decline in employment or a decrease in small businesses, it is a rather extraordinary claim that this wage increase will be different. It demands evidence.

Business owners have a direct financial incentive to lie. And we have right in front of us all kinds of utter bullshit, like comparing company A's total worldwide sales to company B's local Seattle sales. Or claiming to support $15 while also wanting to not pay $15. Only way to cut through the bullshit is to open up those books.

(Dare I ask who Jason is? I suspect there will not be a straight answer. Haven't got a straight answer to any other question yet.)
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 28, 2014 at 12:12 PM · Report this
115
I think of it this way. During the housing bubble, a segment of the population who really shouldn't have bought homes did so. They used interest only loans, or based their budget on getting line of credit loans from growth in equity, or just qualified when they shouldn't have. I see businesses small or large that can only be viable if society pays some of the food and housing of their workers as similar. I think it's healthy to let some of these fail. Not all will, some will find a way to make it work, others will benefit from the increased spending of low wage workers, or from the loss of some of their competition who couldn't make it. I think this is healthy overall for the local economy.
Posted by DJSauvage on March 28, 2014 at 11:48 AM · Report this
114
So if we raise to $15/hr can we stop mandatory tipping with all the guilt attached to it? It would seem pretty unfair that a clerk at Home Depot gets $15/hr flat but a server "deserves" a tip. Both are doing their jobs right? And the argument that tips fill the gap between minimum wage and living wage would be gone once $15/hr was in place.
Posted by tempo36 on March 28, 2014 at 11:45 AM · Report this
113
Saying you don't have a viable small business is not meant as an insult, just a fact of life. I respect you for trying. Smart, hardworking people sometimes fail at a small business. Having said that I don't feel that society and the government should have to pay housing subsidies, food subsidies, etc just so a small business can reduce wages and turn a profit.
Anyone making less than $15/hour in Seattle is either in poverty of being helped by the government or friends/family. So yeah, I think it should be $15 for all, of any size.
Posted by DJSauvage on March 28, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Report this
112
@109

Minimum wage workers have already opened their books. You know how much they make in a year, how much a Seattle rent costs, how much necessities cost. You, on the other hand, have not shown us anything. If you're going to pick apart our lives, we need to see the same level of disclosure from you. Anything less is hypocritical.

For business owners, it sure seems like you guys hate numbers…
Posted by Chareth Cutestory on March 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM · Report this
111
Again: has anyone fucking considered that a wage increase for 25% of Seattle residents just might increase demand and therefore sales so you don't have to cut hours, raise prices, or close shop?!? You all keep talking as if demand is entirely static regardless of how much disposable income your potential customers have. And you want us to be so fucking grateful for the wisdom our wonderful and gracious business smart job creators have?!?! Well, I don't see it. You're all fucking idiots!!!!
Posted by Upchuck on March 28, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Posted by downtownkitty on March 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM · Report this
109
Jason are there any businesses worth keeping? Any that are doing the right thing? Only the ones that are paying your 'living wage' correct? So when TD brings his accounting to a meeting it's not valid unless you are able to look at it? You're a child and you're fucking with people's lives. Stop, you're hurting your position more than you're furthering it. You have no answer to the discussion, just more bad mouthing of great small businesses in our city.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 28, 2014 at 10:20 AM · Report this
108
@101

That sounds like my business! I have a single, part-time employee and volunteer all of my free time (when I'm not working my day job) at my non-viable business trying to build it into something which would be better able to support real living wages for the people who live in this city which I love. Thanks to your enlightening comment, I now know that I should take my dreams, roll them up nice and tight, and shove them up my big, fat, corporate ass.
Posted by derpyderpington on March 28, 2014 at 9:56 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 107
@105: So your idea is that human beings are less important or just as important than businesses? I guess you would be just as sad if you lost your business than say, your child?

Same thing, right?
Posted by Theodore Gorath on March 28, 2014 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 106
@68

That's a video of people talking. Throwing numbers around. No accounting books there.

So we can agree that owning a business drives you into a delusional fantasy world. You delude yourself into thinking that wanting to pay $12.50 an hour is the same as wanting to pay $15. And you delude yourself into thinking that saying "My labor costs will group THIS MUCH!" is the same as opening your books.

I'm convinced if these guys ever did show us the numbers it would blow a giant hole below the water line of their sinking ship. But you need to do something quick. That 68% number isn't going to change itself. If anything, it's going to go up to 70.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 28, 2014 at 9:24 AM · Report this
105
" If you have to pay your employees a poverty wage to turn a profit, you don't have a viable small business."

And someone who can't earn $15/hr isn't a viable human being I assume and doesn't deserve a job. So elitist this attitude by people who have never done anything for anyone.
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 28, 2014 at 8:58 AM · Report this
104
Get real Meinert. You don't want to pay. That is the issue here. Seattlites are expected to absorb high rents, due to policies you advocate. Seattleites are expected to pay your prices. But when Seattleites want a raise, OH NO, WE CAN'T DO THAT. I was a moderate supporter but if a raise means making people like you live in reality then maybe you do need to go out of business; or better yet, you need to prove to everyone that you are as smart as you think you are and carry on. But maybe you just aren't that smart, just a big talker.
Posted by hmmmmm on March 28, 2014 at 8:25 AM · Report this
103
@101 - and if my employees aren't actually living in poverty then it is ok? That is different no? And, if tomorrow the city decides they are going base the poverty wage on something completely different, say the cost for a single parent with 3 kids, then again, suddenly then those who can't meet that new demand are unworthy again?
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 28, 2014 at 8:04 AM · Report this
102
@96 - It really has made me think about whether I want to be a business owner. It amazes me how as an individual contributor I'm a victim, as a business owner I'm suddenly evil. All because I created jobs, and vibrancy to my community, oh, and yes bought myself a paycheck.

@95 - It is funny how a couple months ago Costco and Dick's were lauded here as great companies that cared for their employees. Now... because someone got a slogan in their bonnet they are evil and don't deserve to exist. For those who unaware neither Costco nor Dick's would meet the new criteria of a $15 minimum wage.
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 28, 2014 at 8:01 AM · Report this
101
If you have to pay your employees a poverty wage to turn a profit, you don't have a viable small business.
Posted by DJSauvage on March 28, 2014 at 7:58 AM · Report this
100
@ 76 "Clothing retail has quite a lot of price flexibility, and since every business will have to pay the same new minimum wage, every store will have to raise prices."

Not at the small retailer level. We don't make the clothes. We buy the clothes at a price determined by the maker. There are also typically middle men involved in the transaction, called reps. It is an entirely different market than a big box store. And yes, while you can't buy the same clothes at a big box store, you can meet your needs for clothing. If other prices are rising you have to cut somewhere.
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 28, 2014 at 7:50 AM · Report this
seatackled 99
@96

Seeing as Meinert tells people to fuck off online, he can probably take being called a shitbag.
Posted by seatackled on March 28, 2014 at 7:47 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 98
I am amazed that Dave Meinert's solution involves him not having to pay $15 an hour to his employees.

Never would have expected that.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on March 28, 2014 at 7:30 AM · Report this
97
@74 - Thank you for bringing up other businesses. It does seems, and I've been watching the meeting that we are getting bogged down in the restaurant industry and I feel for the industry. I wouldn't touch the restaurant business with a ten foot pole, terribly challenging. But there are other businesses.

@56 - You've never heard of a retail business that can't raise prices? Hmm... I'm not sure where to start with that. Perhaps you have heard of competition? Perhaps you have heard of one Amazon.com where they lower their prices because instead of having to make a profit, they are funded by investors.

Even locally Target is going to have a hard time (not that I'm crying a river for them) covering this increase in higher prices. We are not on an island. If prices had to go up 10-20% then savvy customers would go to Target online. Of course then Target online could add a Seattle surcharge, but then people wouldn't shop there.

In short, prices will increase to some extent where they can but retail will not be able to cover these costs in the same way that the service industry can.

Posted by ahumanbeing on March 28, 2014 at 7:15 AM · Report this
96
Reading through these hateful comments is really making me reevaluate where I live. These business owners are all trying to find a sustainable way to raise minimum wage yet they're being called shit bag, pos, douche, fucking leach. Seriously?! You know why you don't believe anyone about their numbers? It's because you're a dishonest person yourself. It's so scary to think the children name callers that you are, are going to affect how this city operates. You can't even use your words but you want to tell the city how to run things. These are people lives we're talking about. Both sides of the argument. You would think people would take it seriously. Sad.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 28, 2014 at 6:34 AM · Report this
95
I'm loving all the people who are sucking off "small, vibrant business" and believe they deserve the ability to pay shit wages.

ANY business that pays shit wages, large or small, corporate or independent is nothing more than a fucking leach on our community and our economy.
Posted by Solk512 on March 28, 2014 at 6:11 AM · Report this
DOUG. 94
Meinert welcomed Jared Allen to the Seahawks the other day. He's wrong about everything.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on March 28, 2014 at 1:21 AM · Report this
93
@84 "You must not have been at the Symposium today."

Yay! I didn't know a symposium was representative of the movement as a whole or the final product! You've just found the loophole of democracy! No need for debate and eventual compromise between differing peoples, its this group who will of COURSE have the final say, the final say!

No, this is one view on the issue. There are a multitude of views which will affect the final product. Hopefully, with my personal view, it will look like something from my previous post. But will it in the reality of, "how laws are made"? Not likely.

"the keynote speaker has a company that makes military drones but he's awesome because he's an ENLIGHTENED billionaire"

Strong fallacy thar. Actually, no. You're entire post was fallacy.

@85 "Here's the reality - if this goes through without carveouts for my type of business, I'll have to close my daytime coffee/sushi hours. I'll have to end my charitable giving (which I do a lot). I'll have to curtail discounts, possibly including Happy Hour. All of my expenses will be carefully considered for shaving a bit off here and there. Just to survive. "

I do commend you for not sounding so much like the shitbag Meinert. That said, what you're saying is the very reason for this debate. We should make a few caveats for certain businesses, particularly when they mean a lot to the local economy. That being said, there needs to be rules set in place where you WILL pay $15 an hour. How/when that occurs is all up to us. The thing is, the $15Now crowd does have the upper hand in being potentially capable of increasing it for all businesses at once. But Sawant just said she is down for a plan that occurs over 3 years. You need to take that in good faith and come up with a plan that isn't less than $15 but does so in a safe manner. All, while, not being such a giant douche/POS/fuckwit like Meinert (really, he's such a shitbag).

@87 I assume you already have a fairly expensive restaurant/business/whatever. Its unlikely that people are coming to you for cheap shit already. I don't go to the dive bar to save money and if prices are raised I still won't go to a sub-par bar. So I have to question this logic entirely. Particularly seeing as how Seattle is locally minded.

Really, the cheap places are already occupied by folks who have low wages. Those with higher wages are certainly going to places that have higher quality/more expensive products, particularly if the service is good. If prices change suddenly, I doubt that these people with money to spend (or just prefer quality products) are suddenly going to end up in the sports bar down the street. So its doubtful that the people with high wages aren't going to stop going to your place because a 20/30% price increase.

This all just sounds way too disingenuous.
More...
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on March 28, 2014 at 1:21 AM · Report this
92
@86 - "The proposed law will not raise the monthly rent on the lease a business has signed."

True, but the triple-net that we all pay will increase. Not by much, but expenses are expenses. That's not really anyone's concern, anyway - so why even bring it up?

"The proposed law will not raise prices of agricultural goods, unless those goods are produced inside the city of Seattle (most aren't even produced in the state)."

That's not AT ALL true. There's a whole supply chain to each one of my purveyors that goes through Seattle. Even if their warehouses are not in Seattle, they THEMSELVES have purveyors that are based in Seattle, and this will result in THEIR costs rising, and you better be damn sure that they will pass along that rise in pricing to us.

"I'm sure there will be a bit of extra cost from economic multiplier effects, but surely you can see that they will be minuscule compared to the increased labor cost?"

No, my assumptions have these costs at no less than 10%, perhaps even double that, depending on what really happens.

Also keep in mind that it's not just the current MW'ers that will get raises. Many of those people NEAR $15 will have to get raises to account for their increased value to the company compared to those that are currently at MW. So, not only will the MW'ers go up, but so will many other employees, in all probability. That part I can't possibly guess for the correct amount, but it won't be unsubstantial, that I feel confident in saying.

As for your request for real numbers, I want to correct a few of yours:

"In a typical small restaurant, hourly/non-management labor is usually around 20-25% of total operating expense "

No. Closer to or more than 30. Of all of the small businesses that I have queried, not ONE was less than 30, and there were large and small businesses amongst them. So...your bias is leading you astray on that one. So, when you speculate on "about 15%" as the rise in prices, you've left out so much in unaccounted risen expenditures that I've illustrated above.

Again, I hope to have more specific numbers tomorrow which will cause you to have to reconsider your whole theory.

But, hey - what's a 10-20% rise in cost? What's the big deal? I'm sure that the working poor will be able to absorb that no problemo.
More...
Posted by I'm Cool on March 28, 2014 at 1:10 AM · Report this
threnody 91
It's easy to make sure the tip goes to the employee. It's called cash. Meinert will never even know it existed, just like the government. Problem solved!
Posted by threnody on March 28, 2014 at 1:05 AM · Report this
90
If there is some kind of "1bn in sales" kind of cap, what's to stop people from contracting out their labor needs to temp agencies and having only salaried "management"?
Posted by xizar on March 28, 2014 at 1:04 AM · Report this
89
Okay... Okay...

Compromise plan: $15/hr, straight up for big businesses even if you're apart of a franchise and 5 years for small, LOCAL businesses (let's define this as businesses solely found in Seattle or even Western Wa).

Big business, unless shown to be unsustainable with a $15 mw during debate, will be defined as any individual/company earning a totality of $25 million from all the individual businesses that they own.

For nonprofits (for you, Fnarf, and your terrible idea of what makes good beer) already in existence we'll give them, oh, 8 years to comply.

As for tip credits, they're already unfair as fuck to the consumer. Everyone talks about raising prices. Well, as a citizen who tips well BECAUSE he wants the person who he's serving to live a fulfilled, happy life, a tip credit is really no different than a price increase. I want that tip to mean extra cash for those people, not just to meet their basic hourly wage. I'm not tipping you, Meinert. I'm not going to tip to help YOU pay your workers the bare minimum. I already AM doing that with the current mw. So no tip credits, I would much prefer paying 10% in tip knowing they have a livable wage rather than the 20% I'm currently giving without any reassurance.
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on March 28, 2014 at 12:57 AM · Report this
DOUG. 88
Dick Smith rolls in his grave, Meinert.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on March 28, 2014 at 12:56 AM · Report this
87
@82 - "Every one of your purveyors is operating and sourcing entirely inside the city of Seattle? This business of yours gets more and more interesting with every post..."

I should clarify - Every one that I have asked. And, I've asked most of them. Even those that have their warehouses outside of Seattle have purveyors THEMSELVES that are located in Seattle, so those prices rise, resulting in... There's a whole chain to this that people forget, the costs that we're talking about are not just for payroll.

"And I find it very strange that you seem to resent the need to charge a premium price for the premium product you're proud of."

No, not at all. I resent that on 15th Ave., I am far enough away from the main market centers that I am unable to charge the same amount that my friends & competitors charge just a half-mile away in the Pike/Pine corridor. I resent that my insistence to provide literally the best product that I can possibly produce has caused me to be in this position. I've resisted dumbing down, cheapening my business for years as my competitors do/did. So, perhaps that's what you're sensing that comes through my ramblings.

"You have competitors that provide an inferior product and charge a lower price? Did I miss something there?"

No. My point is that in this new environment, they will have an additional price competitive advantages, meaning - they'll be able to eat a bit more of the increase in costs than I will, thusly resulting in a great disadvantage to me.

"Isn't that exactly how the market is supposed to work?"

Absolutely. To the victor goes the spoils. Those with a competitive advantage will win...which IS MY WHOLE POINT!! Do you not understand that many of the local businesses already have an almost impossible competitive pressure that will now be finally pushed out of the market. That should not be a difficult reality to consider... Some small business will assuredly fail even at $12.50. How many though? THAT is the question.
More...
Posted by I'm Cool on March 28, 2014 at 12:52 AM · Report this
86
@81

But that's just it; I'm calculating precisely from the cost that will be affected by the proposed law.

The proposed law will not raise the monthly rent on the lease a business has signed.

It will not raise the interest rate on the loans the business is repaying.

The proposed law will not raise prices of agricultural goods, unless those goods are produced inside the city of Seattle (most aren't even produced in the state).

I'm sure there will be a bit of extra cost from economic multiplier effects, but surely you can see that they will be minuscule compared to the increased labor cost? And that labor cost, by a conservative estimate, can be matched by a 15% increase in prices for an average, financially stable restaurant operation.

I show my math here. If you want to disagree, please do, but could you pretty, pretty please disagree using actual numbers and percentages and calculations, instead of repeating that frightened hand-waving over and over again?
Posted by robotslave on March 28, 2014 at 12:36 AM · Report this
85
@76 - "Clothing retail has quite a lot of price flexibility, and since every business will have to pay the same new minimum wage, every store will have to raise prices."

Unless you know a lot of clothing retail that I don't know who can confirm this, I am going to go out not too far on a limb and say that this is simply not true. While SOME have the ability to have some "price flexibility", the ol' internets have robbed many clothing retail from that competitive, local advantage. So, even if SOME resemble that belief, what about the rest? What about the bookstores? The art supplies? With each example that I raise, I think of my local stores, and I am very concerned about their probability of failure for many. But, perhaps you're right. I sure hope so.

"For some reason, you don't strike me as the sort of person who would be sensitive to a price increase of 15% for your shoes and coffee grinders"

You're incorrect. I surely ain't rich. I will resort to the ol' interwebs for more and more, taking my $ out of Seattle.

"and my sense is that there are quite a lot of Seattle consumers on the more fortunate end of the wealth spectrum in the same boat."

Sure, but what about most of the rest that are on a budget of some kind? What about them? Should I just assume, just hope that if my prices go up by 20%, that the MW'ers will come in to no small degree more and more and join those that you just described in ignoring my price increases and will continue to spend? Well, I surely hope so, as do my 20 employees.

"And some of those, at least, would suddenly have appreciably more in their pocket after an increase to $15 an hour."

Respectfully, that's probably the WORST argument of all of them for why us small-biz owners should not be concerned. At 30 hours a week, a MW'er will have an additional $168.90 to spend. Not a princely sum, for sure, you'd agree. I just can't feel comfort that in some ratio to my increased prices, that they'll be coming in here so much as to balance out this increase with their new spending spree. I mean, their whole world will be 20% more expensive, resulting in their buying power REALLY being only $135 (before taxes). So, let's say now they have an additional $100 in their pocket/week.

Here's the reality - if this goes through without carveouts for my type of business, I'll have to close my daytime coffee/sushi hours. I'll have to end my charitable giving (which I do a lot). I'll have to curtail discounts, possibly including Happy Hour. All of my expenses will be carefully considered for shaving a bit off here and there. Just to survive.

That sucks.

"I really do appreciate engagement in the actual microeconomics of the proposed law"

Backatcha.
More...
Posted by I'm Cool on March 28, 2014 at 12:35 AM · Report this
threnody 84
@76 You must not have been at the Symposium today. It was very clear that sacrificing small businesses was fine with everyone. In theory, nothing bad will happen, so it's okay. "Businesses close all the time, new ones open up," said one panelist dismissively to a worried owner. Those who can't afford a 60% expense increase deserve to fail. Can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Also, you are a greedy capitalist pig who hates poor people. Your debt doesn't matter, just the debt of your workers. It's alarmist to be concerned about losing your own wage as a working owner. This is actually going to be super good for small business, because their employees will be 60% more loyal and science proves that turnover is expensive.

Also, tipping anyone for anything should be completely abolished in America, starting in Seattle preferably, because according to the panelists it is sexist and racist. (How do you feel about that, bartenders? I actually agree with her, her empirical data was pretty strong on this point...should Seattle be the test case?)

Also, the keynote speaker has a company that makes military drones but he's awesome because he's an ENLIGHTENED billionaire. This was literally his introduction by his best friend the union leader (unions are going to be exempt from this like they are in Seatac, I assume). Hanauer can totally make sweeping generalizations about middle class business owners, because they are like the 1%, just not as evolved as him. Also we aren't friends with Jeff Bezos, maybe Hanauer should get to work on Jeff instead. You know, since he paid $250k or something to defeat the income tax.
Posted by threnody on March 28, 2014 at 12:34 AM · Report this
83
I love the "100/hr" strawman these folks keep throwing around. For the love of fuck, just stick with the topic.

Also, when a single individual works for you and then requires public assistance in order to make you money, its subsidizing your business. Any logical bullshit like, "I don't pay them based on their need or their personal choices", is bullshit when, at the bare minimum of these people's choices (being single), they still are incapable of surviving without public services no longer counts. Sure, hypothetical person with a billion kids (see, I can build a retarded strawman too!) won't be able to survive on $15/hr, but when 10.whateverthefuck can barely sustain A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL, that's called a "problem". And I can assure you, you're still living in a shithole if you're a single person living on 12.50

Also, being for $15 /=/ being for $15 for $1 billion industries. In fact, kinda makes me feel like you're getting millions in revenue. Which, by all means, should allow you to pay your fucking workers $15/hr. <-- Meinert Only, in this case.

"Yes the minimum wage should be increased but raising it to $15 in 7 months is crazy."

Besides Phdolaguteugosug, who the fuck is saying this! There's a plan right now to do it over three years. Why don't you fucking people just let it go and debate it up to 5 years for small businesses! You are the most disingenuous people alive.
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on March 28, 2014 at 12:33 AM · Report this
82
Every one of our purveyors will have to increase their prices.


Every one of your purveyors is operating and sourcing entirely inside the city of Seattle? This business of yours gets more and more interesting with every post...

And I find it very strange that you seem to resent the need to charge a premium price for the premium product you're proud of. You have competitors that provide an inferior product and charge a lower price? Did I miss something there? Isn't that exactly how the market is supposed to work?
Posted by robotslave on March 28, 2014 at 12:22 AM · Report this
81
@77 it is not just simply the actual labor cost. Most businesses operate on less than 10% profit margin.

The increase in payroll means that we will need to adjust for prices yes but also adjust for the cost increase in other areas. If a place is selling burgers (random example) they will need to look at the total cost of providing that burger. That is combination of labor cost and cost of the product being sold. It is only natural to assume that the cost of purchasing the meat / ingredients will also go up. How many people can then spend whatever the new number is and how many more burgers can be sold to get beyond just that break even number?
Posted by 2525 on March 28, 2014 at 12:14 AM · Report this
80
@77 - it's not just the payroll that increases, right? Every one of our purveyors will have to increase their prices. So, if my payroll results in a 10%+ across the board increase in cost, and my purveyors ALSO have something just south of that, plus other costs that will rise as a natural result of this MW increase. This means that I'm looking at between 15-20% increase in prices across the board on my menu just to stay even, not even talking about a few % that I'd like to earn in order to buy Baby Bowie something for her 1yr b'day tomorrow.

Each dollar in increased wage costs me ~$20,400/yr., BEFORE the 17% in taxes that businesses have to pay ON TOP of salary...

Yes, it gets expensive to operate a business.

My accountant is whipping something up this week to show that these numbers are real. I'm not afraid to show that I don't make shit already, so my numbers will show that I'm fighting to just stay in business and fighting to have my new bar, Good Citizen (which I'm working on now), be able to exist as a quality establishment.

Keep in mind, y'all - for the food-service industry, the shitty bars/restaurants and expensive bars/restaurants will have an advantage over everyone else. The shitty ones use shitty products to make your drinks & food, and the very expensive ones have some room in their net profit - both with an ability to absorb the rise in cost... Ask operators about the quality of their products. I use good alcohol, so a bar that uses shitty liquor ALREADY has a 20% advantage over me just on the well liquors, where the nicer places can charge $2+ for the same thing because they simply are able to do so. I refuse to use shitty products, my liquor will stay quality, my fish will continue to be the best quality sushi-grade fish available. I won't cut corners. So, that leaves me in quite a quandary...

More...
Posted by I'm Cool on March 28, 2014 at 12:08 AM · Report this
79
@76

The clothes at boutiques, as I'm sure you're aware, are not available at big-box retailers. Clothing retail has quite a lot of price flexibility, and since every business will have to pay the same new minimum wage, every store will have to raise prices. The difference between a huge retailer and a mom-n-pop shop might be 24% of total operating cost for hourly labor versus 32%. And that difference is only going to result in a price difference of a few percent at most (or possibly no difference at all, if mom-n-pop are already paying their workers a couple dollars per hour more than Big Corporate Store).

For some reason, you don't strike me as the sort of person who would be sensitive to a price increase of 15% for your shoes and coffee grinders, and my sense is that there are quite a lot of Seattle consumers on the more fortunate end of the wealth spectrum in the same boat.

The consumers who are particularly price-sensitive are the ones who don't have a lot of disposable income. And some of those, at least, would suddenly have appreciably more in their pocket after an increase to $15 an hour.

I really do appreciate engagement in the actual microeconomics of the proposed law, despite my snark-- please keep it coming.
Posted by robotslave on March 28, 2014 at 12:08 AM · Report this
seatackled 78
@35 I'm Cool:

Wow. This is the level of debate here, 'eh? WOW.

Obviously I was joking with that, and Meinert's sarcastic response about being paid to comment recognized that. But if you're going to fan yourself over the level of debate, maybe you'd better sit down when you read about Meinert telling Anna Minard to fuck off.
https://twitter.com/davidmeinert/status/…

Posted by seatackled on March 28, 2014 at 12:04 AM · Report this
77
@74

Assuming you're paying every single one of your employees the minimum wage, an increase to $12.50 would represent a 34% increase in labor cost.

For a 34% increase in labor cost to require a 20% matching increase in prices, minimum-wage labor would need to be 59% of the total operating cost for your business (including fixed costs like rent, insurance, and loan service).

Which is possible, sure. But boy, am I ever interested in seeing your breakdown...

Posted by robotslave on March 27, 2014 at 11:54 PM · Report this
76
@53, " Are you simply not willing to consider raising your prices by 15%? If not, why not?"

A reasonable question.

The first problem is that your numbers are off. Every small biz that I have spoken with has payroll expenses of more than 30%. Other Costs Of Goods Sold (COGS), such as food & produce, drygoods, etc. is around the same amount. So, already your numbers are under what is reality. BUT! For the sake of argument, let's say that instead of 15%, it's 20% (by what my spreadsheet suggests I'll have to raise my prices).

What'll happen is that the larger businesses or those without as much of a care for quality will be able to limit their rise in prices to between 10-15%. Competition will get ugly, and while restaurants and bars will be able to weather this storm to some degree better than non-tipped/commissioned retail, what happens to the shoe stores, the art & pet supplies stores, the clothing stores - those that simply CANNOT just raise their prices by 10-20% and still compete with the big-box retailers and larger local stores? What about them? Are we now agreeing to abandon those stores? I love my local art store and book stores. I go and buy my clothes at local boutiques and limit my spending online. But, if I knew that all of my prices were rising by no less than 10%? Well...what then?

What then? I can tell you that many will fail. Is that what we just have to relent care for? That these great local stores will fail, the bigger stores will eat them up and we'll lose what really makes our communities wonderful.

That's your plan? That's OK with you?
Posted by I'm Cool on March 27, 2014 at 11:42 PM · Report this
75
@73

Yes, that calculation is correct for an employee CURRENTLY BEING PAID THE MINIMUM. It is not a correct "PER employee" calculation. It is not a correct average cost increase per employee, not even in the restaurant industry.

We should definitely look at cost increases, and the price increases that must follow.

But we should look at them using sound accounting and real business examples and averages, and not with shouty alarmist nonsense that doesn't come anywhere near describing the effect the proposed increase would have on actual present-day business cost and price structures.
Posted by robotslave on March 27, 2014 at 11:35 PM · Report this
74
@42 - "Opened his books where? To whom? Where do we see them? Do go on."

Now, THIS is a good direction for the discussion.

Let's play with hypotheticals...let's say that we DID open our books to you (I will have an available general P/L available within days for people to see that I'm not lying.), and let's say that we were NOT lying...

So, now that you see that we're not lying, that a rise to even $12.50 would cause us to have to raise our prices by 20%, that we really do only make ~7% (if we're really good operators selling a half-decent product at a reasonable price), would you THEN believe us? Would you tomorrow change your mind, join us in asking for a MW rise in price that is reasonable?

What do you think? You spend more time here arguing with everyone about this...but if you found out that there really would be great instability and probable wide-based small business failure due to even $12.50 as MW...would you join us in working to find a reasonable and balanced solution?

Past that, Dave - I have a question for you. You are for $15...I understand that for you and me, we're going to be OK since there probably will be carveouts for us since we're tipped-income businesses who will a Total Compensation consideration.

But, what about the bookstores? What about the pet & art supplies busiensses? The cloting stores? The manufacturers? What about all of them? Even if our businesses will be 'saved' because of Total Compensation (if it goes in that direction), who on the Committee is speaking for all of these businesses? As I work with other small businesses to contribute to find a reasonable, balanced solution to this problem, I'd hate to think that in our selfishness of working for Total Compensation for us, we've abandoned them and their employees to what surely will be their swan song. Tell me that you've got a plan for those non-tip/commissoon-based businesses.
More...
Posted by I'm Cool on March 27, 2014 at 11:32 PM · Report this
73
@72 there are 2000 hours calculated in a work year.

if they are currently paying minimum wage and it goes to $15
$5.81 increase per hour x 2000 hours if they are working full time = $11620

Posted by 2525 on March 27, 2014 at 11:19 PM · Report this
72
@68

In a year for a full time employee you are looking at an increase in cost of $10K PER employee.


Well, no, you're not. You're looking at an increase in cost of $10K per employee currently being paid the minimum wage, and there are no businesses I'm aware of that pay all of their employees the minimum wage, not even in high-minimum-wage Washington State.

The restaurant industry probably employs as high a percentage of minimum-wage workers as you'll find, and even in that sector a business will only need to raise prices by 15% to cover the increased hourly labor cost.
Posted by robotslave on March 27, 2014 at 11:13 PM · Report this
71
@67 I agree that it is bare bones. Moving from 9.19 to $12.50 would add $6620 in someones pocket per year. If we work towards a slow phase in towards $15 or whatever the number is you still get what is needed but you are taking into consideration allowing time for the greater whole to adjust limiting the impact. I AM IN FAVOR OF A MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE. I am not in favor of a massive overnight increase that would create lay offs or hiring freezes. People are just now finally getting jobs again, just now getting on their feet slowly again.
Posted by 2525 on March 27, 2014 at 11:07 PM · Report this
LEE. 70
@69

Go fuck yourself
Posted by LEE. on March 27, 2014 at 11:06 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 69
Every knows that flipping burgers at McDs or such or swiping wrapping paper or bras over a scanner at Target DOES NOT WARRANT $15 an hour. A person might work at that job for 40 hours, but that does not mean their SKILLS (NOT THEM AS A PERSON) are worth $15 an hour. If they want more per hour, they have to have some skill to offer to the person willing to pay more. Flipping burgers is not an in demand skill.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on March 27, 2014 at 11:01 PM · Report this
68
@65 Take a deep breath. Seriously.

Tom Douglas : http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/vid…

It is not just a matter of the impact on small business but also the impact of an overnight increase. If you look above David already stated that he is in favor of moving to an increase in minimum wage.

Don't you think businesses thought... hmmm let me look at my books how will this impact me? How will it impact my employees? How will it impact my customer base? What things have we already gone through? This is a $5.81 increase per hour. In a year for a full time employee you are looking at an increase in cost of $10K PER employee.

What about the non-profit sector? how are they supposed to adjust? Most groups have to line up grants and funding over a year in advance. We are 4 days shy of April. This proposal if implemented at $15/ hour would go into place January of 2015. How do you propose they come up with the short fall of their funds? What about organizations that are specifically set up to help the poor? How will they adjust in less than 8 months? Aside from the cost of goods/food/rent increase even if it is minor there is a larger impact. It is important to look at the whole picture.
Posted by 2525 on March 27, 2014 at 10:58 PM · Report this
67
@61

So, this one, then?


The SSS builds “‘bare bones’ family budgets [for each of several different types of households] that detail the minimum amount of income required by families to meet their basic needs without public or private assistance.”


and:

For many of the household types, the calculated Living Wage in the SSS is above the current minimum wage and above the proposed $15/hour minimum wage supported by many community organizations. The SSS concludes that a “living wage” in Seattle would vary between $10.62 for a single, full-time worker living alone and $30.41 for a single full-time worker living with two pre-school children.


So if we go with your numbers, I guess we're stipulating that low-wage employees all work full-time or close to it, do not have children, and do not save a single cent of their paychecks?
Posted by robotslave on March 27, 2014 at 10:47 PM · Report this
66
Meinert, it's bad enough that you write stupid articles. Please don't fill the comments section with fixes to what you didn't say correctly the first time, or with responses to commenters.

And if you care only for the good of your employees and society in general, as you so earnestly claim you do over a number of posts and comments, why didn't you act on that feeling BEFORE a $15/hr wage was proposed?
Posted by sarah70 on March 27, 2014 at 10:45 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 65
@60

What rebuttal? I'm still waiting for Tom Douglas's books. Where are they? Is "a bunch of stuff on google" supposed to be an answer? Come on. Where are they? Or anybody's books.

You're not presenting arguments on how to raise it. Raising it to $15 is easy, and simple. What you're up to is trying to figure out how to pay less than $15/hr. In a town that costs over $16/hr just to live. While making everyone think you're doing something else. Sneaky.

Can I ask again how come none of these businesses has commissioned a poll. You claim your very livelihood is on the line. Seriously? You could be ruined? Well pool your nickles and poll this. (You already did, didn't you? Come on, tell us! It's secret, huh?)
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 10:41 PM · Report this
64
Seems like someone might have napped through a few sessions at the Income Inequality Symposium today and then written an article.
Posted by frozenfrog on March 27, 2014 at 10:38 PM · Report this
63
Two points:

1. Everyone keeps talking about how an increased wage will effect small biz costs as if demand will be static, why? A $15 minimum wage will effect 1/4 of Seattle residents, some quite significantly. Are these noble and visionary business owner job creating heroes not capable of also imagining an increase in sales to balance the numbers rather than the simplistic minded solutions of cutting hours, raising prices, or closing shop??? I mean, I know my family would eat out a bunch more if we got raises!

And 2. @52 "I pay them based on the job and how well they do it". What capital will come to understand one way or another is that a wage must not only reflect the value of the performed task but the value of the human being you are renting. Yes some of us workers are desperate and will work for less out of neccesity in this bs race to the bottom economy, which is why an enforced minimum standard is appropriate - and in our local economy where obscene wealth abounds and influences prices $15/hr is barely adaquate.
Posted by Upchuck on March 27, 2014 at 10:37 PM · Report this
62
@59

Well yes, that's why I'm curious about average wages for hourly employees, and average percentage of total operating cost taken up by hourly labor.

Because with those numbers, you see, you can actually calculate how much local prices would have to go up when local minimum wages are raised. You just can't figure that out at all from cost of goods plus fixed costs.
Posted by robotslave on March 27, 2014 at 10:20 PM · Report this
61
@58 it was commissioned by the council. Patricia Lee and Dan Eder wrote it up. The File number is 20140321 CS Memo with an overview of the minimum wage. You will also see that Labor Unions backing this are conveniently wanting to be exempt from paying the new minimum wage so they can "negotiate lower wages" on behalf of their members and to secure job retention. Made me think WTF aren't these guys supposed to be on the side of the workers?
Posted by 2525 on March 27, 2014 at 10:14 PM · Report this
60
J stop dodging all the rubuttals against your points if you're going to debate. And supply side economic theory is based on production and supply, not retail. And I don't feel that using the Idaho/North Dakota model is valid because we are debating HOW to raise the minimum wage.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 27, 2014 at 10:13 PM · Report this
59
Retail is limited for multiple reasons. They are competing with On line companies like Amazon. In the case of bookstores you are paying 60% of the listed price for the book. The publishers determine the prices. Add shipping which has doubled due to an increase in gas prices. Take out your rent, cost of your staff, insurance, taxes... Other retail models are not quite as bad off but still not in a great position instead of 60% you are paying 50% but again you are competing with H&M, GAP and major retailers willing to create slave labor outside the U.S. so you can have cheap goods here. Most local retailers are not only directly supporting the local community but also featuring independent designers AND they pay higher wages than mass block stores. There is a big difference between total gross receipts and your actual PROFIT. There is also a big difference between the Walmarts of the world and the businesses that are proposing a sensible plan that would actually help the most people.
Posted by 2525 on March 27, 2014 at 10:07 PM · Report this
58
@55

Do you have a link to that presentation? And do you by any chance know who presented that data to the Council?
Posted by robotslave on March 27, 2014 at 9:57 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 57
@54

The short answer to that is that you only have to look around, to Idaho, to North Dakota, to see that "business friendly" places that only pay $7.25/hr are not better off. People making minimum wage at the Pocatello Wal-Mart don't make enough to shop at that Wal-Mart without government assistance to survive.

An even shorter answer is that we know supply side economics was a dismal failure. Supply side is how we got into this mess of desperately low real wages. The answer is to put money in the hands of consumers and get the economy back doing what it should be doing, creating a healthy middle class.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 9:53 PM · Report this
56
@54

Yes! Please do give us some ballpark figures for the average hourly wage and average hourly labor percentage of operating cost of whatever retail business you're familiar with!

This stuff makes so much more sense once you have a realistic estimate of how much prices for various goods and services will need to go up.

And incidentally, I've never heard of a retail business that can't raise prices; which sector are you thinking of, specifically?
Posted by robotslave on March 27, 2014 at 9:53 PM · Report this
55
If you look at the recent data presented to the City council on Page 9 it states that the living wage in Seattle lands at $10.62 for a single person. For a couple it is $7.45 because they share expenses. On Page 22 & 23 it shows all the cities that have made increases to their minimum wage and NONE of them have a 64% increase the average from all the cities lands at about 33%. Take the existing minimum at 9.19 add the increase of 33% PLUS inflation you still land UNDER $12.50. Yes the minimum wage should be increased but raising it to $15 in 7 months is crazy. Independent small businesses want their communities to thrive to make more money but we also have an understanding of the bottom line and an overnight increase will have an impact. We are worried about the larger impact. A phased in approach gives everyone the opportunity to adjust and move towards sustainable growth.
Posted by 2525 on March 27, 2014 at 9:46 PM · Report this
54
So much has been said about restaurants but there are other types of small business here. Perhaps Mr. Meinert isn't thinking much of other industries here. Restaurants do have the ability to raise prices, although they do face the consequences of turning away customers, or customers choosing to buy less, etc.

But retail business doesn't have the option to raise prices by 15%. And keep in mind, that it isn't just the cost of labor. It increases then the cost of supplies, services, etc that the business uses. The point being, it is much more complex than supporters want to deal with.

And once all the prices go up, and the benefits are lost and the taxes go up, what is going to be left in a minimum wage workers paycheck? This isn't the solution to the working poor. It doesn't solve the problem.
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 27, 2014 at 9:38 PM · Report this
53
@46

Using financial averages for the industry as a whole, with line cooks earning around $12.50 an hour, dishwashers $10, 4:1 ratio of front of the house to back, and hourly labor comprising 25-30% of operating costs, it looks like an average restaurant, to cover additional labor costs from the minimum rising to $15, would have to raise prices by...

15%

Are you simply not willing to consider raising your prices by 15%? If not, why not?
Posted by robotslave on March 27, 2014 at 9:28 PM · Report this
52
"I have never heard a cogent argument why tax dollars should subsidize any business, big or small. "

How about this. I have an employee with six children. I have an employee who is retired working for extra cash. I have some single employees, no kids, etc.

I don't pay them based on their need or their personal choices. I pay them based on the job and how well they do it. Where their need exceeds their ability to earn society picks up.

You aren't subsidizing the employer, you are subsidizing the EMPLOYEE and the business is actually, by creating the job and paying he employee, reducing how much you have to subsidize the individual.

Just another way of looking at it.

And I guess if you want to look at it that way, I guess I can be excused from raising the wage if you aren't subsidizing my employees? I should just raise the wage for the one with six kids to, oh I don't know $100/hr then society won't have to SUBSIDIZE my business?
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 27, 2014 at 9:24 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 51
@46

Really committed to playing this semantic game, are you? OK, have it your way. Good luck with that. Let me know how many people buy it.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 9:23 PM · Report this
50
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…

It's really just the article about the meeting where he shared his financials.

Google 'Tom Douglas minimum wage debate opens books' you'll find all kinds of stuff.

Posted by marianbuilt on March 27, 2014 at 9:23 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 49
@45

Workers' books are open. They look like this.

Here's a nice table. It's not pretty. Even $15 isn't actually enough to get by at 40 hours a week.

I don't really care how comfortable you are or aren't opening your books. I'm just stating the fact that nobody believes the story you and Meinert and these other guys are spinning. You want us to trust you but it's too late to ask for that. Sorry.

So. Either present the facts of your case or lose when this comes up for a vote. That's reality.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 9:22 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 48
@44

Um, yeah. So you can't find it either. Let me know, because if I missed it I'd sure like to see it now.

I could even change my mind. I just want to see some facts, and not all this "Egads! Fifteen is balderdash! Such a princely number!"

Where was it on slog? If you really can't find the link, what was the approximate date? The author? Can you hum a few bars of the headline?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 9:15 PM · Report this
meanie 47
I am looking forward to the fast food restaurants having ordering kiosks and outsourced india call center ordering in the drive though.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on March 27, 2014 at 9:13 PM · Report this
46
@41 - no, under the plan here I would have to raise wages or benefits to compete with the large businesses. Or, if we include small businesses and have total compensation - basically counting tips as wage - my costs would go up significantly, either way. But it wouldn't close me down. And the people earning less than $15 would get raises.
Posted by Meinert on March 27, 2014 at 9:03 PM · Report this
45
"Please, educate us. Open your books. Meinert won't. Douglas won't. Some have claimed they sort of did somewhere along the line, but where are they? Be the first to open your books. Show us the evidence. " #38

Numerous business (mine included) have offered to open their books to the Seattle City Council which, quite honestly, makes me a little uncomfortable. Just as uncomfortable as if we were to ask the people who claimed they couldn't live on $12/hr to open their books. It seems that small business people are put in a position of begging to not be shut down. I'm not sure the city should have be using that particular power position.

Are you on the council or the committee? If so, you have been offered and quite sure you've seen some. Otherwise, it isn't any of your business.

But honestly, you only need to do some math to see what the consequences are. Any reasonable person can see the numbers and know that small business owners just are raking in this extra money to pay a 60% increase.
Posted by ahumanbeing on March 27, 2014 at 9:02 PM · Report this
44
You are useless if you can't find that. It was in the fucking SLOG!!
Posted by marianbuilt on March 27, 2014 at 9:01 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 42
@40

Opened his books where? To whom? Where do we see them? Do go on.

Why is this like pulling teeth?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 8:50 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 41
@39

And by "support" you mean "don't want to pay". Nice.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 8:48 PM · Report this
40
@37 my lowest paid employee makes $20. And TD opened his books, you may not have been there. Minimum wage is a social floor which we are not willing to let people fall below, not something people should strive to achieve.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 27, 2014 at 8:47 PM · Report this
39
@37 - I support $15, not $12.50.
Posted by Meinert on March 27, 2014 at 8:38 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 38
@35

Please, educate us. Open your books. Meinert won't. Douglas won't. Some have claimed they sort of did somewhere along the line, but where are they? Be the first to open your books. Show us the evidence.

And also, can you show any evidence that a minimum wage increase has caused a decline in employment, or an overall loss of small businesses? You're so positive it's going to cause harm. Show us the historical evidence. You've studied this so it must be right at your fingertips.

Or have you heard this "diversity" argument? Can you educate us on any facts supporting the claim that high wages discourage funky creative new endeavors? Because I don't see as many entrepreneurs in Boise as in Portland. How come?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 8:38 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 37
@32

Our number is arbitrary, but the wage you want to pay is not arbitrary? Meinert wants $12.50. Where's that number come from?

It's been explained again and again where $15/hr comes from. It splits the difference --generously less than a right-down-the-midldle $16.50! -- between real wages from the late 60s, and real productivity today. It's also what you need to live on.

Hey, I know. If you think $12.50 is not "arbitrary", then open your books. Show us that you can do $12.50 but $15 is unpossible. And show us evidence that small businesses have ever been harmed, or employment has declined, after a minimum wage increase. Ever. Ever!

And where are workers supposed to get the rest of what it costs to live on? Welfare?

And we're still waiting to hear how they're going to enforce this complicated two-tier (plus tip penalty) system where everybody is going to try to make themselves look on paper like a "small business", however you define that. By definition, it's going to cost the taxpayer more to enforce all that accounting checking, rather than a simple $15 for everybody.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 8:32 PM · Report this
schmacky 36
@23 is right. The bizarre hostility toward local businesses in this thread is totally fucked up. Meinert and every other locally based merchant in Seattle are operating--and predicated their businesses--upon a set of rules that long preceded them. Y'all act like Meinert wrote those rules himself. His solution needs some additional tinkering, but he sees the forest for the trees, unlike some of you who seem to prefer rhetorical clear cutting.
Posted by schmacky on March 27, 2014 at 8:22 PM · Report this
35
Oh. THIS kind of discussion is why it's so tough to have a reasonable communication between reasonable people.

@1 - "Why is it you can continuously open new businesses - seemingly one every couple of years - but at the same time plead poverty when it comes to paying your employees a Living Wage?"

So, I don't blame people for not knowing how business works, but I DO blame people for not ASKING how business works first, before making it obvious that they don't know.

Thusly, let me tell you - when we open new places (I own Liberty, and also the always-soon-to-be-opening Good Citizen), it's not like we reach in our pockets and just pull out the hundreds of thousands to open these businesses that will employ dozens a VERY good wage. We take loans which take years to pay off in order to get these going, so it's when you ask such an understandable question from a place of ignorance, know that we make only ~7%/yr in net income, so if you would take my business for instance (I don't know Dave's financials), for every $1 that I'd raise my employees wages, that's another $24K that I pay out of pocket. And, since I don't make much...just a few bucks more puts me in the red.

See where I'm going with this? Past that, our front of the house compatriots; by the way, make on average of $40+/hr. (w/MW). Not so bad, 'eh? So, you're picking on the wrong people. Our people EARN.

Who you should be picking on is the chain stores. They make so much more money than us, and usually their people don't make as much as our people do...so...maybe point that voice of invective where it should go?

Live & learn, 'eh?

@4 - "Also, given Anna's excellent post yesterday on how tricky enforcement is already..."

Try not to listen to her much. The people who actually know what we are talking about laugh at her. The degree of ignorance illustrated by her was laughable...well, it'd be laughable if she didn't have such a big bully pulpit. So, here's the fact - the FACT is that IT IS NOT "tricky" to enforce MW if we were to see Total Compensation. Not at all - we all have ~90% credit cards, so it's all in our computers. She was so wrong there (and on every other bit of misinformation that she promulgated) that I personally think that she should be fired. Would you want a sports commentator to comment on a sport if they HAD NO IDEA WHAT THE FUCK THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT!? That's her. She has no fucking idea what she's talking about.

"How the hell is a janitor supposed to have any idea if he's being screwed or not?"

It's not difficult - you see, there'll be a place on everyone's check where the contributions towards Total Compensation will be ON THE CHECK. See? If you knew enough to know enough, you'd have asked first. I mean, it's SO EASY. Now you know.

@6 - "I don't believe a company making 46 million in sales can't afford the 'luxury' of paying employees a 'living'/$15 an hour minimum wage"

Well, let's look at that. A company that makes $46mil after all is said and done makes IN TOTAL of $3mil./yr. But, because each restaurant is its own company, it's not like across the board he can pay everyone the same. Some places make more than others, so if you were following this story and learned more about it, you'd know that Tom Douglas has stated that if $15 goes through, he'll probably close four of his restaurants (to my memory), so that's around 200 people out of work. The rest he'd have to raise his costs (minimally compared to David and I), and cut many programs that behoove the employees.

But, again - you'd know that if you asked.

@17 - " By the way, did the Stranger have to pay Meinert a freelance fee for this? "

Wow. This is the level of debate here, 'eh? WOW.

It's a shame that more of you don't take the time to learn about this issue. You know how I know that I'm right? Because I STUDY THIS. I know that I'm right, I know how $15 - or even $12.50 - will cause mass discomfort and closed business and jobless people all over Seattle. I know this because I am a business owner that understands business and who does not succumb to emotional appeals and bias-led propaganda in the place for learned and studied, reasonable discussion.

Come on, folks, if you don't know something, DON'T OPINE. Ask a question and get an answer before you show your ignorance.

More...
Posted by I'm Cool on March 27, 2014 at 8:17 PM · Report this
34
@33 - I'm not sure that's true. Can you provide reference? Either way, I'm for ensuring no one makes less than $15.
Posted by Meinert on March 27, 2014 at 8:14 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 33
If an FTE makes less than $15 they are eligible for state and federal benefits. So, effectively, business isn't paying the real cost of labor, and tax dollars are subsidizing business. I have never heard a cogent argument why tax dollars should subsidize any business, big or small. Does Meinert have an answer for that?
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on March 27, 2014 at 8:08 PM · Report this
32
@30. Removing a tip credit is not raising minimum wage. And let me explain something right now, David and I are for, FOR, FOR, FOR RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE! All we're asking is that we listen to the concerns of small business who are workers as well. Their jobs are just as important to us. Their employees are just as important to us. So while you're stuck on an arbitrary number of 15, we are trying to get there in a sustainable manner. Raising the minimum wage across the board is not the only solution to the problem we are addressing, which we all know exists. You are fighting us, but we're not the enemy.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 27, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 31
@29

Thanks for sharing. I know you speak for many who oppose the minimum wage increase. That's why I think we need to quit playing this game and get on with the vote. You guys have nothing but anger and seething contempt for labor.

People see the condescension, and the dishonesty. It's why you can't win this in a vote. Your only chance is to manipulate the Mayor and the Council into some kind of whitewashed fake wage increase against the will of the majority.

So thanks for showing your true colors. People like you are going to help end poverty wages in Seattle that much sooner.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 7:30 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 30
@23

Can you show evidence that states that only pay the Federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr are more vibrant and diverse than Washington, with the highest wage in the nation? Oregon's wages are nearly as high as Washington's? Is Portland not home to vibrant and diverse small businesses?

This diversity and vibrancy stuff demands evidence. How come everything looks so monotonous and corporate in Nebraska and Iowa and Idaho and Oklahoma? The high minimum wage states should not have so many creative entrepreneurs. Low wage flyover country should be where it's all happening. Yet... no. How come?

In fact, if you look at a map of wages, the opposite seems to be true. Could it be that a strong consumer economy creates a healthy business environment for small businesses with new ideas? That would seem to explain how Seattle and San Francisco and New York and Portland and Boston and Chicago became engines of creativity. While "business friendly" [sic] Pocatello remains fucking Pocatello.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 7:23 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 28
@13

Yes, we could raise to to $100. The effect would be a drastic reduction in inequality. But going from 9 to 100 that fast would be unprecedented, unlike going to 15, because....

@22

In 1988 we passed I-518 and wages for tipped employees jumped over 80%, because we removed the tip penalty. The very restaurant industry that Meinert is saying needs a special penalty for workers was not harmed by this 80% increase.

The minimum wage has been raised hundreds of times in cities, states and countries around the world. Can anyone cite even one instance of small business being harmed? Even one? Why are we not hearing about all this doom, if it's such a real threat? And not FUD?

Given that $15/hr is in fact a perfectly reasonable level for what a living wage in Seattle ought to be, it's very hard -- without any evidence! -- to believe it is economically unsustainable. How can we possibly imagine an economy functioning where workers are paid less than what they need to live? The difference has to be made up somewhere, in this case by government assistance, unsustainable borrowing, and the destruction of the middle class.

In real dollars the Federal minimum wage was once over $11/hr. Now we're so used to being treated like shit that we think $15 sounds like a king's ransom. A few decades ago these were what ordinary people, teenagers, high school dropouts, everybody, got paid.

Hey, I know! Let's vote! Put a straight, simple $15/hr on the ballot, no penalties. Let's vote up or down on this.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 7:12 PM · Report this
27
Get off the cross, Dave, the proletariat need the wood.
Posted by Agrippa on March 27, 2014 at 6:45 PM · Report this
26
@1 this has always been about big business and their workers not small business and their workers. When was the last time a barista or bartender was seen picketing their work for $15? NEVER because they make more than that now.
@4 why is it that the Unions are going to be exempt? How is that fair or equitable, because they collect millions of their members money to hire big shot lawyers to lobby the City? Unfair!

$15 is a number but honestly business should be giving their people/employees clear paths to higher wages so they cannot just get by but gain real wealth and be able to live happy and productive lives doing what they love to do.
Posted by 2001 on March 27, 2014 at 6:41 PM · Report this
25
I have an idea- abolish wages altogether. Regardless of occupation and profession- pay people with vouchers based on hours of work. Jeff Bezos and the cook at McD get paid 10 vouchers each for 10 hours of work. Vouchers will have no pre- set value- you can get a hamburger or a 55' TV for one voucher. From everyone according their abilities, to everyone according to their needs. It will work, it will work well, it will level the playing field. That's a sound economic model.
How do I know? Marx said so.
Posted by valume on March 27, 2014 at 6:31 PM · Report this
originalcinner 24
NIMBY. "Great idea, but do it somewhere else that doesn't affect me".
Posted by originalcinner on March 27, 2014 at 6:27 PM · Report this
23
It's so sad to see so many people demonizing small businesses that make our great city so vibrant and diverse. It really is a great part of this city's culture and would be a terrible tragedy to endanger them at the cost of an unproven, unrealistic, unsustainable jump of 61% to 15 overnight.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 27, 2014 at 6:24 PM · Report this
22
@10 please show me an instance where minimum wage was raised 61%. Raising is good. Jumping could be catostophic for small businesses.
Posted by marianbuilt on March 27, 2014 at 6:15 PM · Report this
21
Does anyone really think a rule based on "you must follow this rule if storefront is member of a franchise" would hold up in court ?
Posted by ChefJoe on March 27, 2014 at 6:14 PM · Report this
20
@18 - I get paid by the number of words in the comments. So thanks for asking.
Posted by Meinert on March 27, 2014 at 6:08 PM · Report this
rdub 19
@ 16
As I recall the DC Measure had controls in it for national chains sharing one identity.
@14 These Businesses have shareholders to answer to and what's more, the wage would be off the gross earnings of the company according to the IRS.
Posted by rdub on March 27, 2014 at 6:07 PM · Report this
18
@6 - fixed to say : Go to $15 minimum wage next year only for businesses with annual gross revenue over $1 billion.

@16 - this would have to be written in a way where franchises would be covered by this, so McDonald's would have to to $15. The goal is to get all the employees of large corporations covered so that the entire market gets lifted up. And I'm not trying to get out of paying more. This plan would force me to pay some back of house workers more for sure and would be a significant cost.

Posted by Meinert on March 27, 2014 at 6:06 PM · Report this
seatackled 17
By the way, did the Stranger have to pay Meinert a freelance fee for this?
Posted by seatackled on March 27, 2014 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 16
Under your scenario, wouldn't most franchise owners be exempt from the $15 minimum wage? The national McDonald's corporation undoubtedly rakes in billions, but I doubt most of the local individual franchise owners do. I bet most of the fast food restaurants in the city can claim to be owned by franchise owners making less than $1B. And if they own several that add up to more than $1B, it would be child's play to divide the chains up into smaller parts with shell corporations to avoid the $1B threshold.

This sounds like a win for Dave Meinert and a loss for most fast food workers and restaurant workers in the city.

If I was mayor, I'd veto this scheme too.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on March 27, 2014 at 6:00 PM · Report this
mkyorai 14
@12 what part is highly unlikely? The part where a company wouldn't manipulate their earnings to save a few bucks? Or the part where they wouldn't use that as an excuse to immediately revert their minimum wage workforce (even if it's only the janitor) downward? Because both things happen pretty regularly. Add in the incentive of a dual-track minimum wage, and they'll be rampant.
Posted by mkyorai on March 27, 2014 at 5:54 PM · Report this
Fnarf 13
@10, according to your argument, we should be able to raise the minimum wage to $100 an hour without ill effects.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on March 27, 2014 at 5:50 PM · Report this
rdub 12

It seems like a viable option especially since the rallying point for the higher minimum wage was around McDonalds etc. It would be interesting to see what Big Biz would do to fight this on their own without hiding behind small biz.
@7 That seems highly unlikely given that once the Genie's out of the bottle..
@ 9, Did you mean Loopholes like the Labour Unions are asking for themselves?
Posted by rdub on March 27, 2014 at 5:45 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 10
1. Did you just compare Target's total global sales with the total sales of one local chain? Instead of Targets Seattle numbers with Douglas's Seattle numbers? Question! Mr. Meinert, isn't that "bullshit"?

2. $15/hr with no cutouts is simple as can be.

3. Do low wage workers who work for small businesses get to pay less rent? Does food and childcare cost you less if you work for Dave Meinert?

4. Wait. Do you call what you've been doing "not freaking out"? Just what would it look like if you were to take it up a notch to an actual freakout? You're scaring me, Dave. Why should we care if you consider this an impasse? Do you have any leverage? Polls say no.

Has your side polled this, Dave? (Yes, you have) What do your numbers say? ($15 with no cutouts, in a landslide.)

Why don't you open your books, Mr. Meinert? Do you know nobody believes your claims? Open your books and prove it.

Besides asking thousands of Seattleites to continue to live in poverty and require public assistance, what really sucks about this "small business" cutout is how easy it is for large employers to use paper shell companies and phony headquarters locations to pretend to be a small business. Enforcement becomes a nightmare. Who's going to pay for that enforcement?

Also, can you cite any examples of small business declining after a minimum wage increase in the past? We've raised it many, many times in the past. What evidence is there that small businesses employees should be penalized? Why should tipped employees be penalized? After I-518 passed, employers of tipped workers didn't suffer. Can you explain that, Dave?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on March 27, 2014 at 5:35 PM · Report this
Nieuw Hollander 9
Erm, no. Sorry. We get it, you don't want to pay your employees a living wage. You're only acting rationally, if you pay $15/hr you won't be competitive, etc.

Fortunately, we live in a society with a government empowered to structure the rules of the market such that desirable outcomes are achieved while people act rationally within the rules which apply equally to all. Rules like a minimum wage without exceptions and loopholes that would otherwise make it impossible to enforce.

Your framing of this as an opportunity to stick it to big money from out of state (i.e. subsidize humble local operations like yours with statutorily lower labor costs) shows that you do not understand what motivates people on this issue. This isn't about "fuck big business." This is about minimum wage being too damn low to live a healthy life (like, with health care and vegetables for the kids) in a community whose cost of living distorted by some pretty spectacular income inequality and a brutally regressive tax structure.
Posted by Nieuw Hollander on March 27, 2014 at 5:33 PM · Report this
8
@1 - I don't please poverty. But I do want to be real about how doing the minimum wage increase wrong will very negatively impact some small businesses and some social service providers. I'm still for $15, just want to figure out how to do it right. There's many options.

@6 - you're correct, that should have said sales or gross revenue, not earnings.
Posted by Meinert on March 27, 2014 at 5:17 PM · Report this
mkyorai 7
One more thought: Company X has a bad year, didn't clear a billion in earnings. Oh shit! Pay cuts for everyone! And if you believe for a second that a company on the bubble wouldn't round down to screw a few poor folk, you've apparently not been paying attention for the last decade or so.
Posted by mkyorai on March 27, 2014 at 5:15 PM · Report this
watchout5 6
I don't believe a company making 46 million in sales can't afford the 'luxury' of paying employees a 'living'/$15 an hour minimum wage but at the same time the author's point is not entirely lost on me. That kind of a break down makes sense, but a billion in sales and a billion in profit are 2 different things and the author seemed to use them interchangeable. This might work better if we had some legislation to support or not.
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on March 27, 2014 at 5:12 PM · Report this
5
@2 - you're right, that should be "sales of over $1bn"
Posted by Meinert on March 27, 2014 at 5:10 PM · Report this
mkyorai 4
I was actually going to say pretty much exactly what @2 said (and probably said more concisely than I would have). Also, given Anna's excellent post yesterday on how tricky enforcement is already, do we really want to have to have accountants figure out exactly when a company passes a certain, arbitrary mark in order to declare that they are now liable to pay higher wages? How the hell is a janitor supposed to have any idea if he's being screwed or not? This idea works in a perfect world where everyone has perfect information and everyone reads the company's annual report, but in the real world? Bureaucratic nightmare.
Posted by mkyorai on March 27, 2014 at 5:08 PM · Report this
kitschnsync 3
Meinert must be some kind of masochist.
Posted by kitschnsync on March 27, 2014 at 5:05 PM · Report this
sperifera 2
Businesses with earnings over $1B is very different than business with sales of over $1B. Nice try.

Why don't you just charge me for my meal what it takes to pay a living wage to your employees, rather than trying to lump in some arbitrary "I pay for part of the labor" tip as part of their compensation?
Posted by sperifera on March 27, 2014 at 5:01 PM · Report this
COMTE 1
Question Meinert:

Why is it you can continuously open new businesses - seemingly one every couple of years - but at the same time plead poverty when it comes to paying your employees a Living Wage?
Posted by COMTE on March 27, 2014 at 4:59 PM · Report this

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