The Downtown Seattle Association wants everyone to know 2015 was a good year for business — even though before Seattle passed $15 they sent a letter to Mayor Murray threatening that business would close and jobs would be lost if the city raised wages.
At the very least, they wanted Seattle to establish permanent sub-minimum wages and healthcare deductions. And they argued that “locally grown independent retail and restaurant operations may be the most vulnerable if the principles are not followed.”
Seattle passed a $15 minimum wage ordinance WITHOUT bowing to the Downtown Seattle Association’s demands. Funny thing, after $15 was passed and the minimum wage increases started, the city is booming — and now the Downtown Seattle Association is bragging.
“Downtown has experienced steady employment growth since the recession.”
“Retailers are choosing Downtown for their storefronts. During 2015, Downtown Seattle saw a net absorption of more than 85,000 square feet of retail space for the year. Downtown Seattle retail occupancy grew eight of the last 10 years.”
“Downtown features a blend of internationally renowned flagships, nationally recognized retailers and hundreds of independent and local retailers offering apparel, home goods, gifts and merchandise unique to Seattle. There are just under 1,000 street-level retail businesses in Downtown Seattle, including 45 that opened between 2014 and 2015.”
“Downtown Seattle is a hot retail market, with exceptional performance in retail sales that continues to grow.”
“Demand for retail space is high in Downtown Seattle.”
That sure is a different outlook than the doom and gloom the Association predicted before workers won $15 for Seattle. Back in 2014, when the Downtown Seattle Association had asked their members what they thought would happen when Seattle passed higher wages, they weren’t too thrilled with the idea.
Back then they claimed 41% of businesses would cut jobs, 45% would cut hours, and 35% would increase prices. They even anonymously quoted some business types who threatened to abandon the city and move locations.
They were just trying to scare us. Every time workers come together and demand better wages and working conditions the Henny Pennys squawk about the sky falling, but it never does.
Here’s the TL;DR, Seattle passed $15, businesses are booming, workers are better off, and the sky remains aloft.