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.