What to expect when you're expecting a $15 minimum wage

What to expect at today's public hearing on raising wages to $15/hour

Joint public hearing of City Council and Income Inequality Advisory Committee Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Doors open at 5:00 pm, event begins at 6:00 pm

  • Beginning at 4:30 pm, low-wage workers will be available outside Town Hall as they prepare to speak out about how a raise to $15/hour would change their lives and boost the economy. While the event does not officially begin until 6:00 pm, doors open at 5:00 and we anticipate a line may form early.
  • This is the first — and perhaps the only — joint public hearing on $15 to be held by the city council & the mayor’s income inequality advisory committee.
  • Just out on Bloomberg today re: job growth & minimum wage: Highest Minimum-Wage State Washington Beats US in Job Creation
  • We don’t anticipate testimony from McDonald’s, Target, or Walgreen’s, because they make unsympathetic spokespeople — even though two-thirds of low-wage workers are employed by large corporations with more than 100 employees.
  • We do anticipate that poverty-wage workers from healthcare, retail, fast food, childcare, and other industries will share their stories about the realities of trying to support their families on low wages, and how a raise to $15/hour would change their lives.
  • 68% of Seattle voters support $15/hour, according to a recent poll by EMC Research.
  • Despite the same old sky-is-falling stories that we’ve heard in debates over paid sick, wage theft, and even the plastic bag ban, real-world studies consistently show that higher wages are good for the economy. Consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that a worker getting a raise from $9.32/hour to $15/hour will:
    • increase spending at restaurants by 55%
    • increase spending on automobiles by 79%
    • increase spending on books by 26%
  • An hourly wage of $17.56 would be required to afford fair market rent of $913/month on a 1-bedroom apartment in the Seattle area, assuming a full-time 40-hour-a-week schedule.
  • The poorest 20% of Seattle households have income of only $13,000 a year. The top 5% average $423,000.
  • More facts & figures available online.
  • To arrange low-wage worker media availability, contact Sage Wilson, Working Washington: sage@workingwa.org.

Added bonus: $15 public hearing bingo!