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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Two New Anti-$15 Groups Appeared in March

Posted by on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Heard of the new group Sustainable Wages Seattle? I hadn't until very recently. But at least one member of this new anti-$15-minimum-wage group has popped up on conservative talk radio: Woody Hertzog, identified as an "Issaquah business owner." Here's Hertzog on KTTH 770 last week:

I feel like I’m being attacked from all sides. I can’t even believe the changes in the last couple of years, from the Affordable Care Act... to now overtime wages, which is really going to cause me the most problem of anything that’s been proposed, and now this minimum wage push. It just feels like we’re getting attacked from all sides,” Hertzog said.

Hertzog, if he is indeed the similar-sounding man with the same name who identifies himself as an "entrepreneur" in this other recent radio interview, is the regional chair of the Tea Party. (We've noticed him before.)

What else does Sustainable Wages Seattle have to say? A blog post on their site, from Seattle attorney and consultant Matt Gerber: "The fundamental driver for the minimum wage push, and why it is so much more critical to oppose it today, is the hatred of the successful and productive and the wish to cut them down." Soooo that's where they stand.

But sounding less Tea Party–ish is the newly formed Forward Seattle, which seems to have been operating since last month. They call themselves "a non-partisan, self-funded, grassroots organization representing local, independent businesses," and they just posted an "Open letter to Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle City Council" yesterday, advocating for a very specific minimum wage plan:

We of Forward Seattle propose an increase in the minimum wage in the City of Seattle in the following manner:

$12.50 as of 1.1.2015 for all businesses with annual sales above levels defining small business, as per SBA definition per industry; for all other businesses:
$11.00 as of 1.1.2015
$11.75 as of 1.1.2016
$12.50 as of 1.1.2017

Their plan also stipulates that wages include tips, commissions, and profit-sharing; a lower minimum wage for tipped and commissioned workers starting at the current $9.32 an hour and adjusted with inflation; no exemptions for collective bargaining agreements; "sensible" training wages and youth wages for workers under 18; and a phase-in for nonprofits. Read the whole thing.

Forward Seattle didn't return a request for comment on the proposal or on their membership; without knowing who's behind it, it's a little hard to tell how much traction they might get. To be sure, "$12.50 in 2017" doesn't have the same ring to it as "$15 Now," but I guess we'll see what happens next.


Comments (35) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
"i feel like im being attacked from all sides"

Exactly. Its great to see progressives on the offensive.
Posted by longball on April 3, 2014 at 1:33 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 2
More groups with claimed supporters and memberships. Name your membership and endorsers. You have no political power or relevancy otherwise.

For all we know each of these is a couple people claiming fictional endorsers and a made-up power base:…
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 3, 2014 at 1:35 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 3
Hertzog likely doesn't have enough employees for the ACA to "attack" him, if he has any at all. But I'm so glad that Objectivist numbnuts like him have 3, or is it 4, or is it 5 local stations on which to throw poop at the wall all day, while AM 1060 changed to a 3rd sports station. Way to go, free market.
Posted by Max Solomon on April 3, 2014 at 1:41 PM · Report this
fletc3her 4
The SBA defines a "small" restaurant or bar as having less than $7 Million in annual gross receipts. That same figure is used for many retailers. However, a "small" hotel or supermarket must have less than $30 Million in annual gross receipts.

This is one of these proposals that sounds reasonable, but actually places the revenue bar so high that practically every restaurant and retail establishment will be exempt. Especially given that many chain stores are actually franchises which well may be exempt by this criteria.

See particularly the "Table of Small Business Size Standards" PDF file here:….
Posted by fletc3her on April 3, 2014 at 1:48 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 5
@3 that's because it's almost entirely people of a certain... demographic that will sit and listen to AM stations enough for them to earn any ad revenues. I listen to KVI once in a while in the car to hear what's being said. Nearly every single commercial during political shows is for low testosterone, buying gold, and age-related concerns.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 3, 2014 at 1:51 PM · Report this
On the home page of the Forward Seattle web site, it says under the heading of "Who are we really?" it says:

Well, I am one of the owner/operators of El Norte Lounge and Mr. Villa Mexican Restaurant in north Seattle. I am one member of this newly formed, non-partisan, self-funded, grassroots organization called Forward Seattle. We met while attending the numerous Council Meetings and decided that we have a common cause. In addition to being small business owners, we are also concerned citizens and all volunteers. Every expense is self-funded by the volunteers.

Decisions are made by committee and while we do have a collective voice, we all still have our own individual opinions which are in no way eclipsed by the Forward Seattle message. In this light, members will publicly declare in their own time.

There is no average profile of who we are. We are as diverse as are our businesses (retail, restaurants, venues, salons, bakeries, coffeeshops) and hail from every neighborhood and community. Since we have formed, many others have come to identify with our core message: It’s possible to have a thoughtful, sustainable implementation of the minimum wage ordinance.

Kathrina Tugadi
Posted by Sterno on April 3, 2014 at 2:02 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 7
On their website Sustainable Wages has a video talking about how big businesses use the minimum wage to drive up the cost for small business, destroying their smaller competition and creating a climate for corporatism...yep, that has "Tea Party" written all over it.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 8
It's cool that they've figured out that $15/hr doesn't stop at Seattle. Why would so many people at 15Now work so hard if all they were going to get out of it was one city?

Issaquah is next.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on April 3, 2014 at 2:38 PM · Report this
@7 Are you really so ignorant that you haven't learned that rightwingers use whatever language they think will get them the policies they want? For instance, do you really believe that Paul Ryan actually cares about poor people?
Posted by stating the obvious on April 3, 2014 at 2:54 PM · Report this
@7 Are you really so gullible that you haven't figured out that rightwingers use whatever language they think will get them the policies they want? For instance, do you really believe that Paul Ryan actually cares about poor people?

If you want to lie to Seattle, Washington, you claim that Wal Mart LOVES $15/hr. If you want to lie to Fayetteville, Arkansas, you claim that the devil LOVES $15/hr. Really. This is pretty straightforward stuff.
Posted by stating the obvious on April 3, 2014 at 3:00 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 11

It barely passed in Seatac, what makes you think Issaquah will pass it? And what are the chances that 15Now will gain any traction in Texas? Need I ask?
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 3:10 PM · Report this
trstr 12
@9/10: Ah, but you're assuming that collectivism_sucks isn't a conservative.
Posted by trstr on April 3, 2014 at 3:12 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 13
I'm a half black bisexual pot smoking existentialist Zen Buddhist who wants all drugs legalized, all abortions legalized, and legalized victim=no crime. And I ultimately want a stateless society based on voluntary agreements, as Gustave Molinari and Lysander Spooner envisioned, i.e., free-market anarchism.

Yep, I'm a Tea Party conservative alright...
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 3:19 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 14
Nice of Forward Seattle to ID themselves, after being called out. Cheers. That's all I was complaining about. The plumped up unnamed "advocacy groups" about a lot of topics have been aggravating me for weeks, since you never know if you're reading a grievance representative of a thousand people, ten thousand, or two dudes sitting on a laptop in their living room.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 3, 2014 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 15
But if you're reading this, you'll go a LOT further to list your membership.

This is how you do it, on a basic level:…

It gives your voice authority.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 3, 2014 at 3:24 PM · Report this
guerre 16
@12 Anyone who subscribes to "volunteerism" is just someone who's head isn't buried too deep into the sand to see that calling themselves a libertarian is bad press.
Posted by guerre on April 3, 2014 at 3:26 PM · Report this
@13 "And I ultimately want a stateless society based on voluntary agreements, as Gustave Molinari and Lysander Spooner envisioned, i.e., free-market anarchism."

Got it. Gullible it is, then.
Posted by stating the obvious on April 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 18
@9 & 10
I don't believe Paul Ryan cares about poor and working people, but I also don't believe 15Now cares about poor or working people. If they really cared, why not address the problem of people being stuck in entry-level jobs as opposed to giving them more money to work those entry level jobs?

And you completely ignore the logic of why a high MW would benefit big businesses: McDonald's has billions, they can easily afford a pay hike. A local store doesn't have billions and they can't as easily afford the pay hike. This will put McDonald's at an advantage over small businesses.

That's one of the reason's I'm no longer a "progressive": They don't see how big business always benefits from government regulation while everyone else, from small businesses to workers, suffer.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 3:28 PM · Report this
@collectivism sucks - Hertzog is leading this group AND a Tea Party goup. And you have trouble making the connection? As usual, the logic of collectivism sucks, well, sucks...
Posted by bogart14 on April 3, 2014 at 3:31 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 20
@5: you say demographic, I say ilk.
Posted by Max Solomon on April 3, 2014 at 3:37 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 21
Libertarianism is more popular than socialism. If you look at this article you'll see that 38% of Americans respond positively to Libertarianism while 37% have a negative response. Compare that to 29% of people who have a positive response to socialism while a whopping 59% have a negative response:…

So Libertarianism is more popular than why does Sawant call herself a socialist?

And I call myself a Libertarian because I know free-market anarchism won't happen in my lifetime, but that is my goal for society. Just as there are different kinds of socialists (Troskities like Sawant, Social Democrats, Maoists etc) there are different kinds of libertarians (voluntaryists, paleolibertarians, right libertarians, etc)

I consider myself more of a left-libertarian in the traditions of Lysander Spooner and Karl Hess than I do a free-market anarchists, because I know anarchism isn't possible any time in the near future.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 3:37 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 22

So, by your own definition, you admit that 15Now is a Troskyist organization? Because they are lead by Sawant and she is a Troskyist, hence 15Now is a totalitarian organization that is apologetic to mass murderer Leon Trosky?

What's good for the goose...
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 3:39 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 23

Yes and the ads on the Stranger are all for things that only white urban hipsters living on their parents trustfund would want. What's your point?
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 24
@21: 49% of Americans are below the statistical mean in intelligence as well. They buy Papa Johns pizza, they continue to binge on carbs after they get a diagnosis of diabetes, they elected George W. Bush.

Socialism has been vilified by church, government and media in this country for over a hundred years, with no other information to counter it.

Propaganda works. The miracle is that 29% of Americans have a positive impression of Socialism - probably the same % that have been to Europe.
Posted by Max Solomon on April 3, 2014 at 3:44 PM · Report this
@6, I'm a regular at Mr. Villa, they do indeed only have a couple of employees and they are a very small restaurant, but this makes me sad. I understand that they are trying to find a compromise for their own business, but it leaves sort of an icky feeling. Not sure how to respond, because not going to Mr. Villa doesn't seem to be the best action. They make really good carne asada.
Posted by If the shoe fits on April 3, 2014 at 3:45 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 26
The reason socialism is so vilified is because it has resulted in the deaths of millions. One thing I can say about libertarianism: how many libertarian leaders have committed mass murder?

And Europe is NOT socialist. Take Sweden: they have NO MINIMUM WAGE, lower business taxes than the US and more school choice and private school options than any other country that I know of.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 4:09 PM · Report this
@18 You claim some expertise in economic matters but don't even know that most McDonald's restaurants are franchise operations? That's not trivial.

If your extreme overconfidence appears to be the result of ignorance and gullibility, you may consider asking yourself why.
Posted by stating the obvious on April 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 28
And that is all besides the point: libertarianism is popular in America. It's just that in ultra-liberal Seattle it isn't.…
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 29

Yes, I know most McDonald's are owned by franchises, which is why I said "McDonald's" and not "McDonald's Franchises" when I said they could pay 15/hour easily. I apologize if you have a problem with reading comprehension.

As for gullible, that would be 15Now, not me. They really think no one will see their hours cut or lose their jobs over this.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 4:15 PM · Report this
@29 You're adorable. So, you don't think that the McDonald's corporation would suffer if 80% of their restaurants went out of business? Really? You think they'd be happy with $15/hr just to cut out the competition of Zippy's?

Because that's who they're threatened by, right? Zippy's. It couldn't possibly be that McDonald's and Zippy's have two completely different customer bases and that they're not actually competitive in the marketplace in any meaningful sense?
Posted by stating the obvious on April 3, 2014 at 4:28 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 31
Huh? What I'm saying is that McDonald's, the CORPORATION, not the individual franchises, mind you, would be perfectly fine with a higher fact, big business often pushes for a higher MW. For example, the CEO of Wal-Mart is now in favor of raising the MW. Think that's "out of the kindness of his heart"?
Source: http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.c…

And McDonald's and another burger joint, like let's say Dicks, are competitors: They both sell fast food burgers. If Dick's closed down McDonald's would take its place and it's reasonable to assume McDonald's would see more burgers without Dick's around selling burgers.

Why is simply business and economics so lost on so many Seattlites?
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 3, 2014 at 5:10 PM · Report this
@25 is a great example of why small business owners aren't eager to lend their name to a cause that might be unpopular. In some cases, like Dick's Drive-In, they have treated their employees really well (a lot better than just about anyone else in the industry). But coming out against a sudden, across the board raise of over 50% in the minimum wage probably costs you some business, even if what you propose is a step in the right direction.

Speaking of which, the proposal by "Forward Seattle" reminds me of Obama-care. It is certainly better than our current system, but still not that good. Personally, I think it is close. I would do the following:

1) Designate more than one type of business (not just "big" and "small"). Otherwise it is just too brittle (and companies will try hard to remain under the limit).

2) Don't count the tips as part of your wage. This is just asking for trouble. What if you don't make that much in tips (for a certain shift). Do you have the right to sue your employer?

3) Include other compensation though (like health care coverage) but give workers the right to opt out. For example, if you work at Dicks you can make 12 bucks an hour but have 3 bucks an hour worth of employer provided coverage, or you can get your own health care plan and make 15 bucks an hour.

4) I don't know what to make of the youth wage. Youth unemployment is a really big problem for a lot of folks (especially the disadvantaged) but I think this could be abused really easily. I would like to see some studies on this (to see if it works or leads to more problems).
Posted by Ross on April 3, 2014 at 5:11 PM · Report this
@31 "Huh?"

You really should have just stopped there. Seriously. You're embarrassing yourself, and you can't even see it.

"The majority (66 percent) of low-wage workers are not employed by small businesses, but rather by large corporations with over 100 employees"…

Posted by stating the obvious on April 3, 2014 at 10:23 PM · Report this
@collectivism sucks - thinks that pointing out that Hertzog is a Tea Party buffoon is the same thing as admitting that 15 Now is totalitarian? Again, collectivism suck logical abilities suck. And is probably pretty disheartened by the Pew poll that found young people in the US have a more favorable view of socialism vs. capitalism. These times they are a'changing.
Posted by bogart14 on April 4, 2014 at 10:32 AM · Report this
Says that are young people are a bunch of entightled idiots. You learn so much about the realities of life when your parents pay for everything !!! Bogart your a tird
Posted by A real live employer on April 13, 2014 at 3:58 PM · Report this

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