Today The Seattle Times printed an excellent editorial on the minimum wage debate by former Starbucks president, and WPC supporter, Howard Behar. The editorial offers some common sense perspective from a respected business leader, and admitted “pragmatic progressive,” on the controversial and often polarizing issue.
The Wall Street Journal published an outstanding editorial on the consequences of following in Europe’s footsteps by mandating unsustainably high wages for entry-level jobs. The editorial concludes America is “becoming more like Europe, with an economy unwelcoming to the unskilled and unprivileged trying to find an entry into the world of work.”
I’ve included the entire editorial below, but here is the CliffsNotes version:
A column in the February issue of Forbes magazine on the minimum wage features the panelists from WPC’s small business panel at the recent WPC Solutions Summit. Noting that Seattle is “ground zero” in the minimum wage war, the column, “The Real Minimum Wage: Zero,” details the compelling remarks of two of the panelists—former Starbucks president Howard Behar and small business owner Taylor Hoang—in response to Seattle’s $15 minimum wage:
The House Labor Committee is considering paid sick leave and paid vacation bills. Let’s examine the costs these mandates would impose on the non-union businesses that would be required to provide them.
HB 1356 would require employers with 5 or more employees to pay employees for 5, 7 or 9 days of sick leave per year, depending on the size of the company.
What do bills mandating paid sick leave (HB 1356), paid vacation (HB 1163) and triple pay for employees who work on Thanksgiving Day (HB 1694) have in common? Besides increasing the costs for employers, all three bills exempt workers from these benefits if they are a union member.
The labor-backed group Envision Spokane is reportedly working on a “Worker Bill of Rights” for the City of Spokane. Founded by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Envision Spokane is comprised of more than two-dozen unions, community organizations and groups with ties to national organizations.
The battle to increase the state’s minimum wage is in full swing in the Legislature. In just the second week of the Legislative Session, two bills have already been introduced to require employers to pay every worker a higher minimum wage.
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council recently released its annual “Washington State Economic Climate Study.” The report is charged with weighing a series of benchmarks under four main indicators (Innovation Drivers, Business Performance, Economic Growth and Competitiveness, Quality of Life) that are supposed to characterize the competitive environment of the state and measuring how Washington compares with other states.
Bucking the conventional union argument that right-to-work laws are union-busting, the Secretary-Treasurer of the United Auto Workers says right-to-work laws are good. In fact, the national labor boss says he actually prefers to organize in a right-to-work state because it helps unions:
“This is something I’ve never understood, that people think right-to-work hurts unions…to me, it helps them.”
A National Bureau of Economic Research study released late last month by economists with the University of California at San Diego found that mandatory increases in the federal minimum wage between 2007 and 2009 had “significant, negative effects on the employment and income growth of targeted workers.” The study shows hikes in the federal minimum wage during the Great Recession led to the loss of approximately 1.4 million jobs held
Yesterday the Tacoma City Council took the first step toward approving an ordinance that would require all employers to provide paid sick and safety leave to all workers. The mandatory paid leave proposal passed the first hurdle, a “first reading” of the ordinance, with unanimous support from the Council. The proposal will next face a final vote of the Council, likely sometime in January.
In October, I wrote about King County officials’ proposal to dramatically increase the Right of Way (ROW) use fee they charged to wireless phone providers. In their proposed 2015-16 county budget, some County officials wanted to increase the fee from the current $2,000 to $5,000 to a staggering $10,000, with a 4% automatic increase every year. The fee is ultimately paid by cell phone customers in the form of higher service prices.
While the seemingly “modest” or “measured” .8% increase in workers’ compensation taxes for 2015 appear unremarkable and have garnered little criticism, our neighbors to the south continue to enjoy significant rate decreases.
After announcing an average workers’ compensation tax increase for 2015 that is less than originally proposed, the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is making sure the business community and media know how much employers and workers will save.
Last week the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced the average rate increase for workers’ compensation taxes in 2015 would be .8%, a full percentage point less than the 1.8% increase the agency first proposed this fall. L&I says this lower tax rate will allow employers and workers to “keep about $20 million in their pocketbooks—money they would have paid into the syst