Pivoting almost immediately from the issues of immigration and deportation to the fight for a $15 minimum wage, she said the reason that a minimum-wage proposal is coming out of city hall at all is "the result of pressure by our movement. The movement has made sure that business dare not openly oppose the demand for $15." But while the mayor's plan represents a victory in one way, it's certainly not enough for Sawant, who said this plan also "reflects how business has made sure to concede only as little as they can get away with."
With a four-year proposal for some large businesses, a long delay in everyone getting to the same universal wage floor, and a consideration of tips and benefits during a transition period, she claimed that the mayor's plan clearly "does not live up to the wishes and needs of Seattle's workers."
Which is why "our work is far from done," she told the sweaty, cheering plaza. "Workers make this city run, and they deserve wages and tips and health care," she said to more cheers. According to her, a plan she put forth—big businesses pay $15 starting in January 2015, with a three-year phase-in for small businesses and nonprofits—wasn't really voted on in the mayor's advisory committee. She said she'll continue to argue for that plan. And since a proposal "still needs to be voted on by city council, let's keep the pressure high over the next days and weeks."
The first city council minimum wage committee meeting set to discuss today's proposal is this coming Monday afternoon—and she told everyone to be there.
After she stepped offstage, Sawant was swarmed by people who wanted to touch her, hug her, take her picture, have their picture taken with her. "I can tell you're the real thing," said one woman. A guy in a Pizza Hut uniform got his picture taken with her. She may get shut out at city hall some days, but she's sure as hell a rock star out here.