Ultra self-involved Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant wants to make sure everyone knows about the part she played in implementing the $15 minimum wage. So, Sawant and her activist organization, 15 Now, teamed up with some labor unions to “buy King County Metro Transit bus advertisements publicizing the city’s new minimum-wage law.” They hoped the stunt would help Sawant’s re-election campaign.
The 32 ads—which 15 Now paid $10,000 to secure—would appear along the sides of buses for one month. The ads would feature Sawant’s name, title and, in large blue font, “Minimum Wage Rises April 1st,” and, in even larger red font, “We Won!”
Well, Metro rejected the ads citing a ban on bus ads with political content. A Metro spokesman explained, “Our advertising policy does not allow the names of active political candidates to appear in bus ads.”
Sawant is not happy with Metro’s decision. According to the Seattle Times, Sawant and her supporters “described their ad as educational rather than political” at a news conference held last Thursday. Sawant’s supporters insisted that the ads were “aimed at making sure that workers in Seattle know they’re now entitled to a higher minimum wage, and they noted that Metro’s ad policy requires “paid for by” attribution on bus ads.” Sawant said,
“The city and now unfortunately King County Metro have had no sense of urgency about making sure that workers are paid their rightful wage. I was extremely disappointed when Metro rejected this important ad.”
The only problem with that excuse is that Seattle’s new Office of Labor Standards is already working to publicize the $15 minimum wage.
Sawant’s group resubmitted the ad’s design without her name. Metro accepted the new ads and they are expected to be on buses this week.
On a side note, it’s interesting that the 15 Now activist group is so desperate to celebrate Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law as a great victory. After all, the activist didn’t get what they demanded, i.e. an immediate $15 minimum wage. Rather, Sawant abandoned the cause. Perhaps the movement should consider the title: 15 not right Now.
Since UW, a major Seattle employer, has exempted itself the title should be: “15 not right Now and not for everybody”. We sorta won.
The UW has not “exempted itself” from anything. The state is not bound by local laws.
However, UW is raising some wages, in line with Seattle’s new law:
The University of Washington announced Wednesday morning that it has increased wages for the “small group of employees who currently earn below $11 an hour,” the school said in a press release. UW has 70 people out of the school’s 39,000 employees who will be getting a raise Wednesday. […] The school said that if the Legislature funds the contracts that UW negotiated with its labor unions, the campus-wide minimum wage for UW employees will be raised to $12 an hour on July 1.
SeaTac airport also exempted itself from the law that was written for it. “15 not right Now and not for everybody”. We sorta won.
The Port of Seattle is not bound by local laws, and City of SeaTac’s Proposition 1 was written for the City of Seatac, not the airport. Really, if you don’t know the differences between our various local governments, you shouldn’t try to comment on this topic.