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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dave Meinert Threatens to Retire from Public Life, and Other Minimum Wage Mayhem

Posted by on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 11:12 AM

HAPPIER TIMES: Dave Meinert hugging a $15Now supporter at Town Hall earlier this year.
  • Anna Minard
  • HAPPIER TIMES: Dave Meinert hugging a $15Now supporter at Town Hall earlier this year.

It's getting real down at the City Council chambers—and on Dave Meinert's Facebook page, too—as city councilmembers debate all their proposed amendments to the mayor's minimum wage law.

People are yelling, signing, and shade-throwing. Others are finally jumping aboard (like the leaders of the Downtown Emergency Services Center, who yesterday announced they're backing the $15 plan—provided the city council passes a resolution calling for "no resulting loss of homeless services"). And then there's Meinert.

He was a member of the mayor's advisory committee on minimum wage, but he's now saying "the process was a charade" full of "bad faith negotiating" and "political blackmail" and overseen by a mayoral staff that was exhibiting "either incompetence or intentional dishonesty," and... (We pause here for a brief moment of reflection on Meinert's endorsement of the mayor seven months ago) ... resulting in "a shit ordinance" and, finally:

In the end, I am so disgusted with this process, and with the inner workings of local politics, the callous disregard for negative impacts on small business and small non profits, that I am feeling pretty done with local politics. And I hate to say it, but I'm not sure I can support candidates who also take money from SEIU, UFCW and the King County Labor Council."

Full Meinert fusillade in the jump:

I was asked to serve on the Mayor’s Income Inequality Committee, and committed to work with a broad array of voices in finding a way to address income inequality locally by raising the minimum wage in Seattle. As representatives of business I entered into this in good faith, agreeing we needed to act.

Recently Mayor Murray announced a deal from the committee, said to be a compromise, claiming it would meet his goal of avoiding a costly battle at the ballot box. Much credit was given for a collaborative process that brought business together with non-profits and labor unions to craft a near consensus compromise. All nice, except none of this is true.

In fact, the process was a charade. And in the end, business isn't supporting it, and $15Now is running their initiative. So if success was broad support and no initiative, this is a failure.

At the end of the process many on the committee did agree to tentatively support the ‘deal’ IF the actual ordinance reflected what we agreed to. Unfortunately, the final ordinance does not reflect what the IIAC agreed to, and many important details were changed between agreements at the meetings and drafting of the final document. This sort of bad faith negotiating took place throughout the process, as the Mayor’s staff, out of either incompetence or intentional dishonesty, continued to change what was agreed upon to something in draft form that reflected only what Labor leaders wanted. The final ordinance draft changed important elements of what was agreed on.

It should also be pointed out that the final tally of IIAC members supporting the framework of a deal wasn’t based on compromise as much as political blackmail. In the final negotiations the Mayor’s staff told the business side that we could agree to what they had put on the table (which again, wasn’t what had been agreed to), or the

Mayor would draft something “worse” to send to council. That's not creating a compromise or consensus. It's bullying.

Had this process been run better and more honestly, Seattle could have drafted a $15 minimum wage ordinance that both business leaders and labor leaders supported. It could have been historic. Unfortunately it’s more of a mess than historic. During the process, over and over again Labor stormed out of the room, cried, yelled, and took “religious” positions - in that they made no sense but could not be compromised on. The final ordinance reflects goals of Labor leaders that go far beyond raising the minimum wage. They include breaking the franchise model to open up franchise agreements to allow for collective bargaining, getting rid of tipping, moving away from part time work, and moving people out of employee paid health plans into the State exchange. None of these are necessarily bad things, but they shouldn’t have been legislated in this ordinance. Labor manipulated this process and I have lost all respect for the labor leaders involved.

So we have a messy ordinance with 4 different minimum wages, different phase in times for different businesses, a move away from standard definitions of what a business is and what an employee is, and confusing elements like “phasing out” of tips and health care benefits.

As a result of there being no tip credit for "large" businesses and the tip credit for small business phasing out, expect to see the restaurant industry in Seattle move to service charges instead of tips. Few in the full service restaurant industry will make any more money, but many servers and bartenders will make significantly less. Lay the blame for that squarely at the feet of everyone who supports this deal, Labor leaders, and the electeds who vote for it. Ironically, restaurant owners will make the same, some even more.

In the end, I am so disgusted with this process, and with the inner workings of local politics, the callous disregard for negative impacts on small business and small non profits, that I am feeling pretty done with local politics. And I hate to say it, but I'm not sure I can support candidates who also take money from SEIU, UFCW and the King County Labor Council. I'd rather give my money to the many small progressive non-profits they are willing to crush because they aren't part of their unions so none of their concern. Be skeptical and cynical as you can be about politicians, and never doubt that they are more than willing to trade good policy, policy they believe in, for donations, votes, appearances over substance, and press. And in the end, the only people who will be celebrating this ordinance are those that want these things. It's a shit ordinance. Don't even begin to think otherwise. When you read who takes credit for it in the national media, you will know who wins, and why.

It would be a good time for the Mayor and Council to read Hans Christian Anderson. This ordinance is naked.
(PS - a real compromise would have been big and small businesses all going to $15 in 3 years, with a permanent, enforceable tip credit, a health care credit, exempting micro businesses and non-profits. This would have been better for workers and for business. Could have. Should have. That was traded away.)

 

Comments (38) RSS

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COMTE 1
If you can't stand the grinding, Dave, stay out of the sausage factory.
Posted by COMTE on May 29, 2014 at 11:16 AM · Report this
seatackled 2
At least he didn't threaten to move all of his restaurants to Mississippi.
Posted by seatackled on May 29, 2014 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Baconcat 3
Please go, Dave. You know policy eventually tilts toward the capitalist class -- your services are not necessary. Bye. Au revoir. Auf wiedersehen.
Posted by Baconcat on May 29, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Sean Kinney 4
I wonder if it is ethical to directly quote someone's Facebook post on The Slog when there is, at least theoretically, the presumption that access to one's post is limited to an agreement between particular users. Facebook is not a blog. Not sure about this.
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on May 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM · Report this
6
The civil facade finally comes off. The only person shocked is Dave himself. Don't worry, he'll be back for more. He's prone to senseless FB rantings.
Posted by hmmmmm on May 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Sean Kinney 7
Unless Dave's FB posts are all public. If so, ignore ^^^
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on May 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 8
Aw, poor wittle Davey can not handle not having everything his way. Poor guy. Maybe someone will give him a juicebox and make everything better.

But what will we do without his passive aggressive, whiny facebook rants about how he is not getting everything he wants and it is sooooooo unfair?

Please don't leave us Dave! How will we make it through this bleak, colorless world without you?
Posted by Theodore Gorath on May 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Report this
sikandro 9
@7. Looks like he set that post to public. I won't link to it on here, but it's easy enough to find.

Anyway, everything we needed to know about Meinert's position was implicit in the fact that the Comet charges $1 for a game of pool.
Posted by sikandro on May 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM · Report this
10
Holy Crap, is Meinert bugging my ass????

I was just reading Hans Christian Anderson this very morning before taking at look at the Slog. This cannot be a coincidence, is Meinert running a tunnel to the NSA, or what?

Is he personal buds with John Kerry, when Kerry isn't channeling Dick Cheney?

This is too frigging unreal! What would be the chances of my reading Anderson and Meinert making that suggestion?

And how can anybody not agree with the mayor's committee on this? After all, Mr. Wright who is part of this committee and he attended the prestigious Lakeside School and how many effing times am I puking up every time I hear some local media whore refer to the "prestigious Lakeside School" for chrissakes????
Posted by sgt_doom on May 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 11
So, this means he's running for Sally Clark's seat after the recall?
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on May 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Sean Kinney 12
@9. Thanks. Democracy is such a messy business!
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on May 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
DOUG. 13
Hey Meinert, there's a name for candidates who don't take money from SEIU, UFCW and the King County Labor Council: REPUBLICANS!!!
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on May 29, 2014 at 11:34 AM · Report this
14
This coming from a guy who charges $9 for chicken strips *without* fries.
Posted by rhombus on May 29, 2014 at 11:40 AM · Report this
CC-Rob 15
Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, Meinert.
Posted by CC-Rob on May 29, 2014 at 11:42 AM · Report this
16
The idea that by getting a few dozen people to begrudgingly agree to a plan they don't much care for we could avoid a ballot fight has to be one of the more dumbass and naive things Murray has ever done.

Posted by giffy on May 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM · Report this
COMTE 17
@13:

Dave just wants us to think he's liberal, because, you know, he's hip to the rock-and-roll or some-such B.S. But, everything that comes out of his mouth or keyboard just pegs him as another in a long line of conservative Capitalists cashing in on popular culture by adopting a hip demeanor.
Posted by COMTE on May 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM · Report this
18
It is sad that Dave didn't run for student council when he was in jr. hi. That would have been a better time to learn that one does not always get one's way.
Posted by collingswood on May 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 19
So Meinert is butthurt about a $13.25 minimum wage that won't be in full effect for several years, because he didn't get a permanent tip credit? Cry me a fucking river.
Posted by keshmeshi on May 29, 2014 at 12:05 PM · Report this
20
It's pretty dishonest to say that tipping will disappear, it's a cultural artifact that will not evaporate with increased consumer costs. He pretty much implies that a lot of workers would do worse with a $15 min wage, but that includes some very non-data driven assumptions.
Posted by shotsix on May 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 21
Last night, before seeing the SIFF film
Patema Inverted (great!) my son and I tipped $8 on a $2 meal

It has nothing to do with the owner - tips are fore the servers
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on May 29, 2014 at 12:29 PM · Report this
22
As a non-profit employee fuck you Dave. So, according to this prolapsed asshole I should expect to work sub-minimum wage, for pay little better than the homeless teens I support and advocate for?
Posted by OfftheCounterbalance on May 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM · Report this
23
That's not just a $15Now supporter, that's one of the Masterminds! Way to go Philip Locker!
Posted by Gabe Global on May 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM · Report this
sloegin 24
Galt's Gulch needs restaurants too. Don't know where they'll find the takers (sorry, employees) to staff it however.
Posted by sloegin on May 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 25
@21 A $2 meal?
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM · Report this
26
"And I hate to say it, but I'm not sure I can support candidates who also take money from SEIU, UFCW and the King County Labor Council." Ummmmmm, like Meinert's BFF Dow Constantine? I am guessing there will be a few awkward moments between the two of them over this.
Posted by thingvellir on May 29, 2014 at 12:52 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 27
"the Mayor’s staff, out of either incompetence or intentional dishonesty, continued to change what was agreed upon to something in draft form that reflected only what Labor leaders wanted." - Meinert

Does this mean the level of antipathy towards Ed is going to go down 'round here?
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on May 29, 2014 at 1:04 PM · Report this
emor 28
@25

Maybe it was a $10 bag of popcorn and he told the cashier to keep $8 as a tip?
Posted by emor on May 29, 2014 at 1:12 PM · Report this
29
I am shocked that Labor leaders would try to shape a bill to support the long-term goals and interests of Labor. And that Labor leaders would throw huffy tantrums (totally unlike the huffy tantrum Meinart is throwing right now) to try to get their way.

Welcome to politics.
Posted by whatthewhat on May 29, 2014 at 1:16 PM · Report this
seatackled 31
@25, 28

Maybe something at Dick's across the street from the Uptown? Maybe he meant $12?
Posted by seatackled on May 29, 2014 at 2:36 PM · Report this
raku 32
Reminder that no decent person should patronize Dave Meinert's multi-million dollar "small businesses": Lost Lake, Big Mario's, The (New) Comet, or 5 Point.
Posted by raku on May 29, 2014 at 2:40 PM · Report this
Martin H. Duke 33
Few in the full service restaurant industry will make any more money, but many servers and bartenders will make significantly less... Ironically, restaurant owners will make the same, some even more.

So the business leaders on this committee were just looking out for workers in spite of possibly higher profits, while unions weren't interested in that?

Huh.
Posted by Martin H. Duke http://seattletransitblog.com on May 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM · Report this
somedude 35
I wouldn't mind if meinert took a break from speaking in public. I've been sick of him for over a decade, a respite would be nice.
Posted by somedude http://vimeo.com/76792326 on May 29, 2014 at 5:02 PM · Report this
36
re @34 A cup of drip coffee shouldn't cost $3.

Sawant has some coffee that's more your price.
http://www.thestranger.com/binary/3d9a/k…
Posted by ChefJoe on May 29, 2014 at 8:21 PM · Report this
37
@34, Although Kshama has been known to spring for some Starbucks iced coffee to keep her peppy around Goldy.
http://www.thestranger.com/binary/ff9b/1…
Posted by ChefJoe on May 29, 2014 at 8:23 PM · Report this
Sean Kinney 38
Chef: your point?
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on May 30, 2014 at 12:31 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 39
@38: Butthurt, I imagine. Some real bitter tears from the Slog conservatrolls over the minimum wage issues. Hilarious to read their impotent whinings.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on May 30, 2014 at 5:37 AM · Report this
40
wow she looks gorgeous in those photos

people seem to b really interested in whether someone's wearing nike shoes at a protest or whatever, as if u couldn't want things to b better before you're perfect, yourself, and as if raising demand for a product weren't itself salutary for the waged workers who produce that product

"let he who is without sin cast the first stone", and all that, as if we actually planned on stoning someone and didn't just plan on scaring them into refilling the water coolers at their sweatshops a lil more often, or whatever. we're supposed to b the extremists but they're always the ones imposing weird prerequisites for rational judgement
Posted by alfresco on June 3, 2014 at 9:35 PM · Report this
41
Technically, if a person posts and the privacy setting is public, the post is fair game. Ethically, it's never a bad idea to check with the person whose comments are being distributed to see if its okay with them.
Posted by Kaley Perkins on June 4, 2014 at 10:48 AM · Report this

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