What are you when you dare to oppose a union? It appears, a right wing ideologue.
A grassroots organization (Forward Seattle) comprised of Seattle business owners recently filed a “charter amendment to undo the City’s recently passed $15 minimum wage law and replace it with a less aggressive and less complicated minimum wage increase.” According to the Washington Policy Center, Forward Seattle is proposing a phase-in minimum wage hike of “$12.50 minimum wage over five years for all workers.” The group’s plan “would increase the minimum wage to $10.50 in 2015 for every business and then increase it in 40-cent increments every year thereafter, reaching $12.50 in 2020.”
Forward Seattle’s plan isn’t drastic enough for our state’s big union bosses. David Rolf, president of the Service Employees International Union 775 (SEIU 775) and co-chairman of Mayor Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee, accused the group of small business owners of being “right-wing ideologues” for their alternative approach to a minimum wage increase.
Rolf’s comments only prove small business owners’ fears over the non-existent state of open debate over the $15 minimum wage. Through the course of Seattle’s minimum wage hike, leaders of the $15 minimum wage movement overlooked, ignored and mocked the concerns of small business owners—Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle City Councilmembers were only too willing to follow their lead. The Washington Policy Center,
“Seattle small business owners, many of whom are active and avowed liberal activists in the community, say the wage movement became “cultlike,” with dissenters, regardless of their liberal resume, attacked for being “too rich” or “exploiting the working poor.” Many small business owners say they were intimidated, heckled and harassed for daring to question the wisdom of making Seattle the test case for forcing every employer in Seattle to pay every worker a $15 wage.”
Under Seattle’s $15 minimum wage plan, small businesses—categorized as fewer than 500 employees—have seven years to implement the 60% hike as opposed to big businesses’ phase-in period of up to three years. The small businesses that form Forward Seattle worry that, in the end, the difference in phase-in periods will not matter because they “will end up paying the $15 wage much sooner because as big businesses begin paying the higher wage, small businesses will have to match those high wages to compete for workers.”
Small business owners of franchised establishments face similar hurdles in dealing with Seattle’s $15 minimum wage plan. Due to the fact that they are categorized as big businesses, franchised small business owners must adhere to the 60% wage hike in the next three years. The short-time frame places them at a severe disadvantage to their small business competitors. In response, Seattle franchise owners filed a lawsuit to stop the $15 minimum wage ordinance.