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15 Now Tacoma Endorses Spokane Worker Rights Initiative

A group called Envision Spokane (ES) is sponsoring a ballot initiative that would enact a so-called “Workers’ Bill of Rights.” The Spokane City Council referred ES’s proposal, Initiative 2015-2 to be placed on Spokane’s November ballot after ES had gathered the required number of signatures to qualify it for the ballot.

However, the Mayor and City Council, at the behest of business and special interests, are now trying to scuttle this initiative. These measures include the Mayor filing a lawsuit to try to knock part of it off the ballot. The City Council also placed several “advisory” questions on the ballot, which are actually poison pill questions. You can read about this cynical and manipulative ploy by clicking here.

At our last Action Group meeting (Aug 1, 2015), after discussing this campaign, our 15 Now Tacoma volunteer teammates unanimously endorsed Spokane’s Workers’ Bill of Rights. The Envision Spokane group had already endorsed 15 Now Tacoma and Initiative Measure 1, in a show of solidarity.
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The Video that Frightened the Chamber

On May Day, 2015 (05/01/2015), a coalition of trade unionists, community groups, and low-wage workers organized a traditional International Workers Day march and rally. There were many excellent speakers. One such speaker was Mike Ladd, a 15 Now Tacoma volunteer. The crowd enthusiastically received Mike’s speech. Another 15 Now Tacoma volunteer made a video of it and uploaded it to YouTube.

However, the video failed to wow members of the local Chamber of Commerce (CoC). It dawned on the Chamber a few months ago that Tacoma’s low-wage workers meant business about getting a fair wage. They also realized a sizable percentage of Tacoma’s voters support Proposition 1, a ballot initiative that will raise the minimum wage immediately to $15/hour—with NO phase in. Here is the video that the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want you to see.

The CoC held a meeting to plan a way of sticking a wrench into Prop 1’s spokes. At their meeting, they featured this video to energize the CoC attendees into action. Apparently, Mike’s eloquent demand for justice frightened them out of their wits.
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Does Prop 1 Raise Wages Too Fast & Too Much?

By Max Hyland
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Reprinted from a Facebook Post

One of the critiques we have heard is that immediately increasing the minimum wage by 58% will have a disastrous effect on the economy. Usually to go along with this complaint is a claim that the minimum wage has never gone up that fast before, which is false.

In 1949 the minimum wage went up by 87.5% all at once, overnight. Just a few years later it went up another 33%, overnight.

The 50s were a period of strong economic growth, explosive economic growth, and unprecedented increases in the distribution of wealth and the prosperity of the American public including businesses.
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Uncle Weston, Wages, Inflation, and Killing Jobs

You’re at a typically crowded and raucous family get-together picnic. Uncle Weston’s voice hovers above the park, mingling with the smell of barbecue and camaraderie. Once again, he’s handing out wisdom to the young folks.

Uncle Weston loves to tell younger family members (like you) that you’re all misguided. Your mother was the one who set him off. After your mom tells Uncle Weston that you’ve been working on Tacoma’s Yes on Prop 1 campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, Uncle Weston rises up on his haunches, mounts his soapbox, inflates his bellows, and let loose with a mighty blast of wisdom.
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Why Tacoma Needs A $15/Hour Minimum Wage

Did you know that the poverty rate in 2013 in Tacoma was 17.7%? That’s according to UW Today, a University of Washington website.

worst-fearThe PediaCities webpage also cites this same 17.7% figure. And as ironic as it may seem, PediaCities also tells us that Tacoma has an unemployment is 6.3%. Doesn’t that tell you that there must be a hell of a lot Tacomans living at or below the poverty line who actually have jobs?

Moreover, the poverty line figures are ridiculously out of date and unrealistic. Did you know that the US government poverty rate comes to $11,670 a year for a single person and $19,790 a year for a family of three? Oxfam America reports that at least 25% of American workers have low-wage jobs and 40% of American families live at or below 200% of the ridiculous official poverty line.
No doubt, Tacoma is in the low-average end of this range.
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How Can You Help Raise Tacoma’s Minimum Wage?

The 15/Now Tacoma coalition needs your help in getting an initiative on the ballot to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour in our city. If you think that a person who works hard all week should earn a living wage, please help our coalition qualify and pass this initiative in any way you can.

Here’s a list of things you can do to help:

Continue reading How Can You Help Raise Tacoma’s Minimum Wage?