Hong Kong Restaurant, Seattle

Linda Di Lello Morton and Tamara Murphy of Capitol Hill's Terra Plata and Elliott Bay CafeBy The Charlette Report

An April released survey by the Washington Restaurant Association shows the consequences of a $15 minimum wage hike if implemented in Seattle. This recent survey indicates a heavy impact to restaurants which restaurant owners have been saying since January when the Broadway Business Owners on Capitol Hill submitted an open letter to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle City Council expressing dire concerns. Asian and Immigrant businesses are starting to speak up with their own open letters and finally say “No” to a minimum wage hike.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announcing hopeful progress of a minimum wage plan by the Income Inequality Advisory CommitteeWashington Restaurant Survey if min. wage increased:

  • 80% of full service respondents said they would either lay off employees, close their business, declare bankruptcy or close a location.
  • 69% of Full Service Restaurants said they would lay off employees.
  • 49% of Quick Service Restaurants said they would lay off employees.
  • 45% of both Full and Quick Service Restaurants said they would close or close a location.
  • Due to labor costs alone, restaurants will effectively turn into non-profits.

Mayor’s Last minute Negotiations – Heading off a Lose-Lose Multi Initiative Process and “Class Warfare”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s announcement on April 24th was a bit of a surprise as news media was expecting his own announced minimum wage proposal but encouraging that his committee of 25 was still in “negotiations” in the back conference rooms.

Ethnic Community Coalition logoSeattle City Council member Kshama Sawant who is a member of the Income Inequality Advisory Committee and is spearheading the $15 Now campaign did not make an appearance alongside the mayor and was also a “no show” for the April 23rd immigrant focused restaurant meeting 2-4pm at the New Hong Kong restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown. Sawant appears to have ditched the meeting attended by her Council colleagues Sally Clark, Jean Godden, and Sally Bagshaw’s representative in favor of attending the $15 Now rally at Seattle City Hall.

Mayor Ed Murray at his announcement stated:

“There is a strong feeling if labor had to spend what literally would probably be millions of dollars on an initiative when they need to fight important campaigns around the state, if business had to spend that much when they should be creating jobs, that we would have an atmosphere that would be poisoned and they are trying to find ways to get people to the table so that we don’t end up with an initiative process that quite honestly I believe will be a mini version of class warfare.”

Hinting at some indication that this is what the $15 minimum wage campaign is really about, the repackaging of Occupy Seattle’s slogan of sticking it to the 1%, even if that means sacrificing small businesses and non-profits along the way.

ECC logo photo minimumwagegraphic
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