The city of Seattle is about to phase in a drastic increase in the minimum wage to $15/hr, thanks to the efforts of its new socialist city councilwoman, Kshama Sawant. Seattle’s far left mayor Ed Murray has now taken up the effort, and it is expected to be passed into law by the city council soon. The increase will affect nearly 100,000 workers, including almost all fast-food workers. Around 30 percent of all jobs in Seattle currently pay less than $15/hr.
What is going on is pay-to-pay politics, led by the unions. The losing mayoral candidate, incumbent Mike McGinn, unsuccessfully tried to save his campaign with a union quid pro quo. He received a $100,000 contribution from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union 21 last year, coincidentally timed about the same time he came out publicly opposing a new Whole Foods development in West Seattle.
Whole Foods does virtually everything the left wants – except they’re non-union. Whole Foods already pays its non-management employees an average of $15/hr, provides excellent benefits and health care, including same-sex benefits, and executive pay is capped. The company routinely makes Fortune’s list of “Best Companies to Work For.” Whole Foods is now the largest natural foods chain in the nation, not exactly a far right type of organization. Even though Whole Foods would be perfect for bohemian West Seattle, the unions take the approach, “Either you’re union, or we will go after you and destroy you.” They have a stranglehold on the local politicians in Seattle.