In "vote to advance to cause of fast food CEOs", State Senate Committee votes to roll back the minimum wage

With few witnesses present besides the TVW cameras which recorded it all, the State Senate Commerce & Labor Committee voted Wednesday evening to advance three bills which together would roll back our minimum wage to just $9.53/hour for the overwhelming majority of workers in our state, and reduce wages even further for younger workers.

Sejal Parikh, Executive Director of Working Washington, issues the following statement in response to this development:

“Workers scored a major victory in the nation’s capitol on Wednesday when fast food CEO Andy Puzder was forced to withdraw his nomination to be Secretary of Labor over his chain's record of wage theft, sexual harassment, and other issues. But here in Washington, the State Senate Republicans on the Commerce Labor & Sports Committee went in the other direction: they voted to advance the cause of fast food CEOs like Puzder by moving forward on three bills that would roll back our state's minimum wage law.

The people of Washington voted by almost 60% for Initiative 1433 to raise the minimum wage. The vote was just this past November. The initiative just took effect less than two months ago. The fast food CEOs and their friends at the State Capitol may be trying for a do-over, but it's not going to happen. We're not going to let them roll back our wages and drag down our economy. Not in our state. And not on our watch.”

The bills

  • SB 5541 would create a sub-minimum wage for younger workers, regardless of their responsibilities.
  • SB 5530 would create a sub-minimum wage for people who work for organizations classified as nonprofits, regardless of their size.
  • SB 5532 would create a sub-minimum wage for 38 of the 39 counties in our state.

All three bills passed out of committee little more than three months after voters passed Initiative 1433 to raise the wage by almost 60% this past November. All three had the support of Sen. Baumgartner (6th LD), Sen. Braun (20th LD), Sen. King (14th LD), Sen. Rossi (45th LD), Sen. Rivers (18th LD), and Sen. Wilson (17th LD).

Highlights of testimony in support of the minimum wage is available online.