In the midst of last year’s raging debate over whether Seattle should increase the minimum wage to $15, a study by the University of Washington (UW) weighed in, finding 24% of Seattle workers would benefit from the wage hike. Add in predictions of wage compression, whereby employers increase the wages of workers already making more than $15 in order to maintain the pay-scale hierarchy, and the UW study said one third of the city’s workers would benefit.
Envision Spokane, a labor and enviro backed group, has filed an initiative to amend the City of Spokane’s charter to include a “Worker Bill of Rights.” If approved by voters in November, the measure would impose a sweeping set of new labor mandates on Spokane employers.
Research consistently shows that when the government forces employers to pay a higher minimum wage, employers rarely absorb the extra costs. Employers simply cannot pay a worker more than the value of their output. So forcing employers to pay workers an artificially high wage creates perverse incentives to find other ways to cut labor costs. Usually it is in the form of charging higher prices for the goods and services they provide, reducing the size of their work force, reducing employee hours or eliminating non-mandated benefits.
Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson said she plans to ask for a Senate rule to require “fair and balanced” hearings. She specifically cited the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, chaired by Senator Michael Baumgartner, as a primary offender.
When pressed for an example of why such a rule is needed, Senator Nelson said:
When you have a hearing it should be fair and balanced and both sides should be heard, versus having the WPC present on a bill and not have someone from the other side presenting on the same bill.”
A recent article in The News Tribune (Tacoma) featured a headline declaring, “Businesses elsewhere report few problems with sick leave laws.” The crux of the article is that business owners in Tacoma should not panic about that city’s impending paid sick leave law because some business owners in other cities with paid sick leave mandates say the regulat
It has been one week since the state House passed legislation (HB 1355) to increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 over four years (with an exemption for unions, of course) and still there is grumbling that workers need more.
Today The Columbian published a strongly worded editorial in favor of making Washington a right-to-work state. The editorial begins by declaring that “the debate over right-to-work laws essentially comes down to a matter of individual freedom. It is a freedom that Washington state should embrace.”