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Monday, April 21, 2014

A Few More Thoughts on That Business-Backed Poll and the $15 Movement

Posted by on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Late Friday afternoon—not the normal time for dropping big news—the business-backed group OneSeattle released a poll that it said shows support "shifting" against a city-wide wage hike to $15/hour.

In January, a labor-backed poll found support at 68 percent. This new business-backed poll finds support at 47 percent.

I've already pointed out how the second poll fails to offer an apple-to-apples comparison to the first, making the claim of "shifting" support suspect. Here's another interesting thing one notices when looking closely at the business-backed poll:

Click to enlarge.
  • Click to enlarge.

Note the language of the question OneSeattle shared with reporters: "Proposal A would increase the minimum wage in Seattle from..."

That sounds like a poll that offered respondents a lot of different proposals (Proposal A, Proposal B, Proposal C, etc.) and then sought their opinions on each. But, OneSeattle only shared the results of its polling on Proposal A.

Alex Fryer, spokesman for OneSeattle, has not responded to questions about whether the business-backed poll included other questions, what they were, and how they polled. But Sage Wilson of Working Washington points out that the question for which OneSeattle shared results asks about a proposal not currently at the forefront of anyone's discussions—a proposal that defines small businesses that would qualify for a phase-in as those having "ten or fewer employees." (The ballot measure offered by $15 proponents last week defines small businesses that would qualify for a phase-in as having 250 or fewer employees.) Says Wilson:

It appears the only question where the business-backed poll found less than majority support was one which defines small business far more narrowly than is actually being discussed by anyone, because that's the only poll question they released. I assume the business groups also polled on their key issues of deducting tips and benefits from the minimum wage; if they haven't released those numbers, it's because they must not be helpful to their cause.

Every sign continues to suggest that there is strong public support for a $15 minimum wage that lifts up workers, makes provisions for community businesses and nonprofits, and stimulates the economy.

I'll post more if/when I hear back from OneSeattle on my questions about its poll.


Comments (51) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Wow, if only you and dedicated all this energy to attacking the SEIU poll.

And why would using Sawant's name be a negative push poll? Surely the Sawantanistas are local heroes whose name inspires and leads us forth to a socialist utopia?
Posted by You can smell the panic on April 21, 2014 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Seems like the debate on this has shifted to restaurant workers and away from everyone else. I'd say support is shifting.
Posted by keith Hernandez on April 21, 2014 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 3
These daily infomercial op-eds from business are getting really good a cherry-picking which facts they want you to know. More than likely they took a poll asking the exact same question as labor's poll, and kept it mum. Exept for the leaked email from the CEO of Iver's, who admitted they got 70%, not 68%, support for $15 with no exceptions.

Then they tried again with another poll asking four questions. But only wanted to talk about one. Where's the answers to the other three?

And when they're not cherry picking poll data they're carefully slicing out unverifiable factoids from their books to try to fool you. Adding up how many millions in tips their employees bring in, but not how many hours that took. Or how that tip income is skewed in favor of a few at the top of the pyramid. Or quoting bartenders who say, "I make $45 per hour some nights. During some hours of those nights."

They don't tell you how many total hours they worked, making little or no tips, all for that one hot hour where they seemed to be making a lot. And business owners won't tell you what their cut is. Or give you the whole breakdown of their payroll. And some boutique hipster bar employing a handful of workers hardly represents the reality of tens of thousands of workers at Starbucks or Target.

There's no end to how much they're not telling you. They think you'll be happy with them picking out a few favorable numbers and never looking behind the curtain for the rest.

Apparently OneSeattle and their masters at Yum! Brands have decided that this cherry-picking strategy is the way to go. I guess we'll be hearing more of the same every day.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on April 21, 2014 at 10:46 AM · Report this
if the 15Now people dont comprimise some with the small biz concerns, especially hi-profile restaurant types, this will fail. dont let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Posted by Cassette tape fan on April 21, 2014 at 10:50 AM · Report this
guerre 5
@3 Do you have a link for the leaked Ivar's email?
Posted by guerre on April 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on April 21, 2014 at 11:06 AM · Report this
guerre 7
@4 How about a compromised wherein small businesses get a couple years to phase in the increase- maybe with a small increase the first year, say $1.50 more than projected, and then $2 the next and another $2.50ish to match the $15+cost of living by 2018. And let's, for compromise, use the most conservative sizing of a small business from the sickpaid leave act and peg the size of a small business at 249 people. Cassette tape fan would that be a pretty good compromise?
Posted by guerre on April 21, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
guerre 8
@6 Oh I had read that as the CEO of Ivar's just acknowledging SEIU's %68 percent number and ronding it up to a nice 70%.
Posted by guerre on April 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM · Report this
When the rest of the poll is released it will show the results do not favor Working Washington or Sawants positions.
Posted by Moresanity on April 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM · Report this
10 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy

poor can sense the fear in him now. I wonder what plans $15now peeps will do when they don't get their raise. Lol.

I'm will enjoy watching this go down in defeat.
Posted by No raise for you on April 21, 2014 at 11:35 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 12
It is telling how much those against raising the wage focus on Sawant and socialism.

If they have actual data and arguments, why do they need to resort to race-baiting and socialism scares?

I mean, it is almost like they have no data or any convincing arguments.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 21, 2014 at 11:38 AM · Report this
Jeffo 13
Talk about cherry-picked data.

Sage Wilson is pushing the idea that tipped workers only make $22,000/yr. Trying to make it sound like, once again, restaurant/bar people are liars. They said they make like $30/hr!! They don't make what they say they make, even with tips!! Gasp!

The data includes ALL tipped workers (valet, maids, hair stylists, baristas), part time and full time. How is that data not cherry-picked to serve a point?

Opinions are changing because more information is coming out. This is not surprising.

Posted by Jeffo on April 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM · Report this
rob! 14
Oh look, the anti-Affordable-Care-Act astroturfers have re-animated @10.
Posted by rob! on April 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM · Report this
rtm 15
I was out with the kids for Record Store Day. We were going to grab lunch. I thought we might go to Lost Lake, then I remembered it was a David Meinert joint. Rancho Bravo was great!
Posted by rtm on April 21, 2014 at 11:53 AM · Report this
16 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
View OneSeattle's positive message of inclusion here:…
Posted by Pol Pot on April 21, 2014 at 11:56 AM · Report this
The OneSeattle Coalition's actual website is The website you keep linking to is a *fake website* created by detractors, but the Stranger keeps referring people to it. Once may have been a mistake, but doing so repeatedly makes it look like YOU'RE the ones trying to deceive people.
Posted by fnbs on April 21, 2014 at 12:06 PM · Report this
@18- yes, you fucking moron, its a parody. Anyone with an IQ above 6.5 can tell its a parody. The only people who could possibly be deceived by said parody would those with an IQ below 6.5...which apparently includes The Seattle Times, who quoted from it.…
Why are you rightwing asshats all so fucking gullible?
Posted by Pol Pot on April 21, 2014 at 12:27 PM · Report this
20 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
@19: Well aren't you a dear? Not sure why a simple question made you so angry.
Posted by fnbs on April 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM · Report this
rob! 22
@10, 16, 20: please pardon my tin inner ear @14. Carry on.
Posted by rob! on April 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM · Report this
I'm pretty sure I was called for this survey. There was also a Proposal B and a Proposal C. One phased in the increase over a period of a few years, and I think the other included a tip credit.

They also asked about a few specific options such as exempting small & non-profit businesses and the tip credit thing, and whether that would make me more or less likely to support a proposal.
Posted by happy renter on April 21, 2014 at 12:48 PM · Report this
@22: He's a troll right? Astroturfing support for ACA? I mean it sure feels like it... Or else it's a stupid astro turf against who doesn't know they need real arguments for this website.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on April 21, 2014 at 1:34 PM · Report this
@13: This isn't about anyone's total earnings from all sources. It's about the wages an employer pays an employee.

Your statement, "pushing the idea that tipped workers only make $N," is rather ambiguous. Are you saying that this person claimed that tipped workers are paid that much by their employers, and that you dispute this figure?

When discussing the minimum wage that an employer is allowed to pay an employee, we have to be careful not to conflate wages with various income from side jobs, gratuities, lotto winnings, capital gains, inheritance, etc.
Posted by Phil M http:// on April 21, 2014 at 1:37 PM · Report this
@15 I'm not sure that the owner Of rancho Bravo's views on the issue will make you any happier. Maybe it is for the best if you just stay home from now on.
Posted by M. Wells on April 21, 2014 at 1:49 PM · Report this
Jeffo 27

I am saying that you cannot talk "living wage" with statistics that include PT workers. "Living wage" is computed with a 40hr work week, no?

It's misleading to say,

"The average tipped worker in #Seattle makes $22K a year - significantly less than $15/hour".

Basically PT workers are going to bring the average down, because they are not working 40hr weeks. The data would be much more effective if it counted only full-time workers.

Posted by Jeffo on April 21, 2014 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Also pertinent to 27's point, many of us who are tipped servers choose to work part time because that's what works for our lives. Often it's just assumed that part-time workers con't get full time work, but for many of us it's a choice we've made.
Posted by fnbs on April 21, 2014 at 2:18 PM · Report this
@26: If it's that or support a system that has been revealed to rely on the purchase of labor at a rate dramatically less than that which it costs to live around here, I suspect many people will just stay home.
Posted by Phil M http:// on April 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Report this
@23: I got called for this too. When they described Proposal A and specifically mentioned Sawant by name, and called her out as a Socialist, I gathered that it was not meant to be the most scientific of polls. The other 2 proposals did not mention any particular person by name, though they did describe in general terms who the supporters were ("labor unions and some small businesses" on one of them, "some businesses" on the other, IIRC). I was actually really hoping to know how the 3 options stacked up in the final results. I suspect that there was overwhelming support for the $15 minimum wage, phased in--otherwise the full results would have been released.

What I take away from this is that there is strong public support for a compromise measure that gets us to $15, even if people have some misgivings about Sawant's uncompromising approach. Which is fine by me; it's great to have a real Socialist on the council to make the progressives seem pretty moderate in comparison. Keep right on being unreasonable, Kshama. You're moving the conversation in the right direction.
Posted by Solicitor Expliciter on April 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 31

Sawant has already compromised, as she said she was willing to do. And she is willing to compromise further. And 15Now has already compromised, by filing a ballot measure with a 3 year phase in of the $15/hr wage for small businesses and non-profits. And 15Now has said they will compromise further by not bringing their measure to the ballot, if an adequate wage increase passes the Council.

It's Meinert and Douglas and Yum! Brands who have refused any compromise. They want 'total compensation', or nothing, no middle ground, no compromise.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on April 21, 2014 at 4:47 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 32
Obviously we need a compromise of $21 an hour with a $6 tip credit that gets phased out $2 a year, starting at $15 in 2015 and ending with $21 an hour with $0 tip credit in 2018
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 21, 2014 at 4:58 PM · Report this
Jeffo 33
A 3 year phase-in IS compromise. With or without a tip credit or total compensation.

When a political movement decides it is going to push for a 60% increase in a major portion of your business model and you are like "...hey can we have some considerations here for..."

That is already compromise.

These owners were breaking no laws. Nothing to be sanctioned for. Why do they get arbitrarily whammied with an "out of the blue" 60% increase in labor?

We/they are compromising.
Posted by Jeffo on April 21, 2014 at 5:35 PM · Report this
Nice point Ctulu. It is humorous to see you regurgitating my point from a week or so ago. Sawant is bending to the will of her "master" David Rolfe and will continue to compromise.. otherwise the $15 MW likely goes to a winner take all scenario in November(which is to risky for Labor Unions to gamble). The irony of this is the big winners here will be Labor Unions & Big Business..unlikely MW folk who get replaced or small business owners who cant adapt & shut down.
Posted by A real live employer on April 21, 2014 at 6:41 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 35

What idiot had you convinced that Sawant was unwilling to compromise in the first place? I never said it. I've been saying all along she's been reasonable and willing to work with others. It's your myth. Now you think you're clever when you finally realized you were wrong?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on April 21, 2014 at 7:31 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 36

In 1963, 49 years ago, MLK demanded $2 per hour for the Federal minimum wage. That's over $15 in today's money. Everyone has been saying for decades that the minimum wage is falling behind inflation. All the while productivity has increased and profits have gone up and the wealth at the top has increased. And then in 2008 everything went from bad to worse and a nationwide movement demanded change. That was six years ago.

How much warning do you think you deserved? You're lucky you got to exploit workers at such low wages for so long. And if you really would prefer to pay workers less, there's 18 states where you can pay $7.25, or for tipped workers, only $2.13.

Yet if you tried to run your artisan pickle hipster hangout or yuppie whiskey distillery in one of those 18 states, you'd find the market there rather inhospitable. See the problem? You want to make money in the kind of market found in high-wage cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, New York, and so on, but you want to pay the wages of Boise.

That contradiction is the result of your own misconceptions. You need to figure out who is really responsible for giving you what you need to thrive, and then pay them accordingly. Or, if you deny it, then go try to become Oklahoma City's Linda Derschang or Dave Meinert, and let us know how well that works out for you.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on April 21, 2014 at 7:41 PM · Report this
My grass needs to be cut*wink wink* Would you like to get your raise to 15 bucks now and cut it for me Ctulu.

Newsflash! Productivity measured among low-wage workers has not gone up to the degree of moderate and high wage earners which are all grouped together in that number.

Also the productivity increase you referenced has something to do with the tech revolution(internet,mechanization & data storage ect). Or do you suppose that workers today are just intellectually superior to those of the 50's and 60's and therefore are more productive.

All that being said. I do agree that a growing income inequality is damaging to society and increases the likelihood of social revolution and unrest.

Posted by A real live employer on April 21, 2014 at 8:09 PM · Report this
@29 I'm sorry, Phil, I think that you're wrong. I respect that you view restaurant work that way but I'm not sure that the majority of Seattleites share your opinion.

Anyway, my point is that choosing between Rancho Bravo & Lost Lake is a false dichotomy. Their positions are the same. In fact, I think anyone would be hard pressed to find more than single digits in the restaurants in town that don't support the tip credit. So, choosing not to eat out is an option. Choosing restaurants that don't support tip credit as a part of the minimum wage will be a much harder proposition.
Posted by M. Wells on April 21, 2014 at 8:35 PM · Report this
Why would Rancho Bravo support a tip credit?
Posted by vine street on April 21, 2014 at 9:55 PM · Report this
seatackled 40
Rancho Bravo isn't being a loud asshole about anything, that's the difference.

It might be amusing to get all racist on them when they mention Sawant by name just to see how they react: "Sawant? Is that that dark-looking chick?"
Posted by seatackled on April 22, 2014 at 12:24 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 41

And low-margin restaurants spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on integrated point-of-sale systems because they just have hundreds of thousands of dollars laying around that they can't help but spend. Not because it has anything to do with worker productivity.

If low-wage tipped employee productivity were the same today as in 1968, they'd be using the same cash registers, same pads of paper and have the same staffing levels. But they don't.

And that doesn't even address that fact that we aren't talking about some "service industry minimum wage". We're talking about THE minimum wage. It applies to all sectors. The wage that applies to all sectors should take into consideration the average productivity across all sectors.

And finally, $15/hr doesn't attempt to capture all of the productivity increase. If it did, the wage would be $22.50/hr. This $15 is only a small cut of that.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on April 22, 2014 at 8:26 AM · Report this
Jeffo 42

You have contempt for someone that would open an artisan pickle shop or a local distillery, gotcha.

"You want to make money in the kind of market found in high-wage cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, New York, and so on, but you want to pay the wages of Boise."

No, I want to pay the highest minimum wage in the country... oops, already do. Boise MW is $7.25/hr. I don't even mind an increase to our MW. Somewhere around where San Fran is, $10.82ish, or a little higher. 15why?

You are pretty wrong about other places with lower MW being less hospitable to businesses like those you snarkily describe.

Take lovely Detroit for example. Tons of hipstery, boutiquey, artisanal businesses popping up. More every day, and they do well.

I get it, you don't get out much. You have been glued to this issue since 1963. Saying that we should have forseen a 61% labor increase, to what is already the highest MW in the country overnight because of 1963 is either completely, intellectually dishonest or the prattle of an ideologue. Or both, hand in hand.
Posted by Jeffo on April 22, 2014 at 8:34 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 43

I'm not the one who has repeatedly said our hipster and yuppie botiques would be replaced by corporate chains if we raised the minimum wage. It's OneSeattle and Tips Are Wages (who specifically the fuck are they? by the way) who claim that we can't have hipster and yuppie boutiques without low wages. To which I ask, how come all the midwestern and southern low wages are where you have total dominance of Dunkin Donuts and Wal-Mart and Olive Garden, while all the hipster and yuppie uniqueness is in Seattle, Portland, SF and NYC?

You think I don't get around? Please show actual evidence that $7.25/hr states are not dominated by corporate chains. Everybody knows it's the opposite. The innovation and local ownership is in gentrified yuppie and hipster playgrounds. For which you should be grateful instead of disingenuous.

I guess you don't like it that I call a spade a spade and use "hipster and yuppie" in place of euphemisms like "locally-owned entrepreneurial artisan" and whatnot. But anybody with eyes can see that "organic, local, entrepreneurial artisan" fucking means "hipster and yuppie". Hipsters and yuppies are perfectly fine human beings in my book. But the fact is they're highly prviliged, and they should be grateful for the good fortune they've had.

Hipsters and yuppies are not the ones we should be worried about. We should worry about people needing public assistance so survive. We should be breaking the cycle of poverty, and the one surefire way to do that is to pay workers more. Simple as that.

If you think MLK is irrelevant, then try former labor secretary, professor Robert Reich. King and Reich are talking about a federal minimum wage of $15 (or $2 in 1963). Federal. Here's more. Or here.

Here is fucking Forbes agreeing with your side. Forbes, you know, the "capitalist tools" Forbes? That's saying something, isn't it?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on April 22, 2014 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Jeffo 44

I am not Oneseattle. I am an independent business owner who is standing up against an attempt to submarine my business by ideologues. I do not pay my employees poverty wages.

You are the one who said I wanted Boise wage. I do not.

I told you last time that I find most of the Reich points to be hogwash. Seriously, points 2 through 7 are not accurate or talking about this as a POLITICAL move, not social justice.

So much hyperbole. (everybody knows! anybody with eyes! they should be grateful for the good fortune they've had!)

I don't believe you about your thoughts on hipsters and yuppies by the way.

You find it OK to lump people and businesses into your narrow profile of what you think they are.

You are an ideologue interested in nothing but your ideology.
Posted by Jeffo on April 22, 2014 at 12:27 PM · Report this
melvidaloca 45
Funny, The Stranger and 15now do the same thing, pick that details that substantiate their argument. Who cares? When it goes to a vote we shall see who supports what. I am super disappointed at how quickly the staff at The Stranger has turned on the businesses that literally have been supporting them for years. Not to mention continuing to propagate Sawant and her camps misleading and disingenuous agenda, and the thinly veiled contempt for people in the service industry. Absolutely disgusting.
Posted by melvidaloca on April 22, 2014 at 1:30 PM · Report this
melvidaloca 46
Exactly @13. Servers in Seattle do not average $12 an hour. That's total BS. Valets probably do though. Talk about apples to oranges comparisons for the sake of getting the answer you want.
Posted by melvidaloca on April 22, 2014 at 1:44 PM · Report this
Jeffo 47

"You think I don't get around? Please show actual evidence that $7.25/hr states are not dominated by corporate chains. Everybody knows it's the opposite. The innovation and local ownership is in gentrified yuppie and hipster playgrounds".

10 Olive Gardens around the city of Atlanta, GA ($7.25 MW, none actually IN Atlanta) = the same as Seattle.

8 Olive Gardens around the city of Austin, TX ($7.25 MW, 2 actually IN Austin)

10 Olive Gardens around the city of Detroit, MI ($7.25 MW, NONE actually in Detroit)

These 3 cities have a healthy, indie (lucky-ass hipster/priveliged-fucking yuppie) restaurant/bar scene . How did they do it with all the wage-induced, chain domination and a $7.25 MW?

Try searching on Yelp in one of these cities for "burger". How many pages of results do you think you have to scroll through before you hit Burger King? Plenty of independent businesses.

Why do you keep bouncing from arguing about state MW, to federal MW, to city MW?
Posted by Jeffo on April 22, 2014 at 2:22 PM · Report this
How Foxerific of you, Eli. Poisoning the well because you don't like the outcome of this poll?

Maybe The Stranger should pay for your own poll, with your own question and see how well that works.

People aren't stupid, they knew what this question was about, and they answered it exactly how they felt. Frankly, it's insulting that you would think that all of these respondents were suckered, or, somehow they misunderstood the question.

This is just another glaring example of the unprofessionalism of The Stranger's staff. That's what point will all of you stop being cheerleaders and start being professional reporters?
Posted by I'm Cool on April 23, 2014 at 8:49 AM · Report this
RTM @ 15 wrote: "I was out with the kids for Record Store Day...."

Here is a perfect example of how people don't even understand the issue enough to understand the issue enough. Haven't spoken to many managers of non-tipped retail such as record stores, obviously RTM does not understand that this record store will probably go out of business if it's $15 an hour law goes into effect. Record stores are already under extreme price pressure, and now with having to pay $15 an hour they very probably will be out of business after this goes through and you try to go and buy a record. Maybe Rancho bravo, too.

But, what do us small business owners know? I guess we are all liars.
Posted by I'm Cool on April 23, 2014 at 9:05 AM · Report this
Vine Street @ 39 wrote, "Why would Rancho Bravo support a tip credit?"

That's a reasonable question. The reason why Rancho Bravo would support a tip credit is because only with a tip credit would run to Brovo and other small businesses be able to survive. It's really that simple – either you believe all the small businesses to tell you that they will struggle to survive without two credits, or you just go along with the $15 Now cadre's mantra that we are all liars. It's your choice.
Posted by I'm Cool on April 23, 2014 at 9:42 AM · Report this
Well I do believe you have proven to be a liar by making up numbers but beyond that again why would a business with a tip jar support a tip credit? How would they be held accountable for the amount of those tips? there is no verification of what was actually in the jar or who it goes to. It sounds like a nightmare for a business owner to try to verify these facts and opens the business up to potential litigation if an employee feels they have not been compensated properly.
Posted by vine street on April 24, 2014 at 6:39 AM · Report this

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