The week in work: phasing in,walking out, raising up, talking down, and biting back.
The 5 stages of phase-in acceptance
Fast food movement leader Malcolm Cooper-Suggs gets the front page & the last word in a Seattle Times look-ahead at the first phase-in of the city’s minimum wage, coming April 1st. Malcolm looks forward to the increase and sees opportunity; Subway franchisee David Jones sees a possible 4% price hike.
The modesty of that figure is notable, because Jones has had a lot to say about prices and the minimum wage law over the past year. In May, the same franchise owner said the law would force him to increase sandwich prices "more than $1". In early June: “a dollar or more.” In mid-June: 75¢ a sandwich. And now it’s down to 4%. Quite an evolution as fearmongering fades and reality sets in.
Oily to rise
Oil workers are on strike across the country this week for better pay and stronger safety standards, including at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes. Fourteen people who work at that one location have died on the job over the past 16 years, including 7 in a single explosion.
Another major dispute could be looming at West Coast ports including Seattle & Tacoma, where longshore workers are facing new threats of being locked out of work by terminal operators. In the most recent round of confusing accusations, the multinational shipping giants are complaining about a crisis of congestion at container terminals…which they themselves seem to be responsible for.
SEA -> NYC -> PDX -> IFC
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales are both now calling for $15/hour minimum wages in their cities. Unfortunately, unlike Seattle, neither city has the authority under current law to raise the minimum wage within its borders. But there's reason for hope: after all, former Portland mayors have already acquired the power to act alongside Kyle Maclachlan.
There must be some kind of Manweller-splanation
Here in Washington, a Senate committee heard debate on various proposals to pay less money to “younger" workers. Business lobby groups quite like the idea of paying lower wages to some people; workers, not so much. And women workers aren’t thrilled about being paid just 79% of what men are paid, either. Someone should find out what the infamous Rep. Matt Manweller has to say about all this.
More fun than a bailout of monkeys
Like usual, house sparrows in Yakima are ahead of the curve — they’ve apparently been snagging fries from the parking lot and paying with lovin' long before McDonald’s made a promotion out of it. Meanwhile, a groundhog snipped at a Wisconsin mayor during its annual moment in the sun (or shadow). It may have been a form of political accountability after last year’s incident in New York.
And expressing a frustration shared by 99% of all primates since the Great Recession, a diaper-wearing monkey bit a San Antonio banker. The monkey was quarantined but — no surprise — the banker was allowed to remain free.