Labor activists want to make Tacoma the next city to join SeaTac, Seattle, and San Francisco in forcing a $15 minimum wage on its local business community. A group called 15 Now Tacoma — one can assume it includes some of the usual suspects behind Seattle’s 15 Now movement —filed a citizens initiative with the city clerk’s office.
The activists can begin collecting signatures on Dec. 20, if no one finds fault with the measure’s title and challenges it in Superior Court. A Tacoma measure requires at least 3,160 signatures by turned in by mid-June. Assuming the group can successfully collect enough valid signatures, the Tacoma City Council may then choose to vote for the measure or send it to the voters to decide in November, 2015.
The ordinance seeks to exempt businesses making $300,000 per year or less from paying a $15 minimum wage. It also would establish a “seven-member minimum wage commission, which would be tasked with reviewing the city’s enforcement of the wage.”
The push for a $15 minimum wage is gaining momentum from Democrats across the state. Jay Inslee has offered his support for the movement, though he has stopped short of specifically endorsing an increase to $15 per hour. Speaking before the Columbian’s editorial board about the minimum wage, Inslee said he thinks “we ought to have a minimum wage that reflects one fundamental principle: If you work 40 hours, you work hard and you give your employer everything you got — you ought to have a livable wage in our state. Our state minimum wage will not support that right now.”
Assuming our green governor did not botch his statement, Inslee apparently believes that a minimum wage increase should only apply to full time workers. Of course, the question of how many full time workers are actually earning the minimum wage naturally arises. Inslee’s preferred method of minimum wage hikes also opens the door to a large number of economic woes including companies simply switching employees to part-time shifts.