Workers won $15 in Seattle, the city is booming, and the far right is starting to panic. After all, they’ve tried to scare us for decades with a sky is falling story whenever people raise wages or put into place worker protections. So when Seattle raise wages and booms, they start getting desperate. The latest tantrum comes from State Senator Michael Baumgartner from the Spokane area (where they just passed a citywide paid sick leave ordinance).
Baumgartner has put forward a bill that would rip away and strike down minimum wage, paid sick days, and other labor standards in Seattle, SeaTac, Spokane, and Tacoma. Not only that, but the bill would prevent cities from passing similar legislation in the future. Another little bonus in this bill is that it would also ban public contracts from requiring a living wage. Baumgartner is calling it the “Seattle Quarantine,” but it’s really an amputation.
Baumgartner is taking a page from the American Legislative Exchange Council’s playbook. ALEC is the collection of big pro-poverty-wages businesses like McDonald’s and their cronies. According to leaked documents, ALEC has a plan: it’s called the “Living Wage Mandate Preemption Act” and Baumgartner’s latest attempt reads like a shot by shot student film remake.
Here’s a snippet from ALEC. “The Living Wage Mandate Preemption Act repeals any local “living wage” mandates, ordinances or laws enacted by political subdivisions of the state. It also prohibits political subdivisions from enacting laws establishing “living wage” mandates on private businesses, including those businesses that have service contracts with and/or receive financial assistance from such political subdivisions of state government.”
So what else are McDonald’s & friends up to in their attack on Seattle’s successful $15 law? Just this week the International Franchise Association, a group notorious for pushing poverty wages, is appealing to the Supreme Court to try and muddy up Seattle’s minimum wage law. The Federal courts heard the IFA claims before and pretty much said “nope.”
The truth is, Ronald McBaumgartner & friends don’t actually think that higher wages will fail. They have seen the evidence and they know that we will succeed and that has them terrified.