Seattle launched its unprecedented citywide $15 minimum wage experiment today. However, according to the latest reports, the experiment lacks the necessary, well, experimenters. The city agency created for the purpose of supervising the implementation of the $15 minimum wage law is not fully staffed and does not have a director. The Seattle Times,
“Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council last November budgeted $1,168,000 for the new Office of Labor Standards (OLS), part of the existing Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
“The money is supposed to fund seven employees, outreach to workers and managers, and enforcement of the new minimum-wage ordinance and three other labor laws…
“Officials have made just one outside hire, however, filling the position of OLS lead investigator. They’re having an Office of Civil Rights investigator pinch-hit as OLS business liaison while the actual business liaison serves as interim director.
“The hiring process for three OLS investigator positions has yet to begin, and the city is still taking applications for the role of permanent director. An OLS community liaison may be hired soon.”
The hiring lag earned the criticism of far-left City Councilmember Nick Licata, who worked with Murray to create the OLS. Licata complained of a “low level of assistance” and “too slow” rollout of OLS. We can only guess how the 15 Now crowd would react to businesses performing at a similar standard when implementing the $15 minimum wage law—something tells us it would involve a protest led by Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
Under Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law, employers with more than 500 workers must set a new minimum wage of $11 an hour today. They must increase to $15 an hour by 2017. Small businesses “must pay either a flat hourly rate of $11, or $10 an hour with an additional $1 in tips or payments made to a qualifying medical-benefits plan.”