Coincidence or Consequence: 160 CenturyLink Jobs to Move to Other States One Week After Seattle Passes $15 Minimum Wage

June 10, 2014

Is CenturyLink the first major casualty of Seattle’s passage of a new law mandating a $15 minimum wage for all workers?

One week after the City Council unanimously passed the $15 wage law, CenturyLink has announced it will close its customer care center in Seattle where it employs 160 workers.

The 160 workers have the option to keep their job and relocate to Bismarck, ND or Minneapolis, MN, or they can accept a severance packageand join the ranks of the unemployed.

While not identifying the newly mandated $15 wage as the  reason for the decision to move its facility to another state, CenturyLink issued a statement indicating the cost of doing business in cities like Seattle was a contributing factor:

"CenturyLink, as all businesses, continually evaluates its cost structure and business practices and adjusts its operations to meet the needs of the business and its customers.”

North Dakota’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.  Minnesota’s is $5.25 per hour for small businesses and $6.15 for large businesses, with an increase to $6.50 and $8, respectively, scheduled to take effect in August 2014 and topping out at $7.75 and $9.25, respectively, in 2016.  Neither city mandates paid sick leave, as does Seattle.

Seattle increases its minimum wage for all workers to $15 and one week later CenturyLink decides to move 160 jobs to cities with significantly lower minimum wages: coincidence or consequence?