Voters approve minimum wage increase to $13.50 in Washington state

Originally published in The Seattle Times.   Washington’s low-wage workers can expect to earn at least $13.50 an hour by 2020 under a ballot measure that won Tuesday night. Initiative 1433, which would also require paid sick leave for employees, was leading with nearly 60 percent of the vote in statewide returns, as of early Wednesday In King County the measure was leading overwhelmingly, by 72 percent to 28 percent. Carlo Caldirola-Davis, campaign manager with Raise Up Washington, the group behind I-1433, declared victory, saying in a statement: “When voters filled in their ballots, they were clear — in Washington state, we want an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. Tonight, hundreds of thousands of Washington workers and families are getting a raise, and more than one million workers will finally be able to earn paid sick and safe leave.” Source

Washington Nonprofit Leaders Endorse Initiative 1433 Campaign

More Than 30 Nonprofit Groups from Across Washington Endorse New Statement Supporting Initiative 1433 Because it’s Good for Their Mission, and Will Help Reduce Costly Turnover SEATTLE – Today, more than 30 nonprofits from across the state signed a new statement in support of the Initiative 1433 campaign to raise the state minimum wage to … READ MORE

The Seattle Times recommends: Raise statewide minimum wage with I-1433

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board   The minimum-wage experiment is sweeping the nation because it has a simple premise: A job ought not to be a poverty trap. The slogan is a bit too nifty — a minimum-wage job, after all, is intended to be the first rung on a ladder built by education and hard work. And there is a cost to consumers and to businesses for a higher wage floor. But the premise stands. An estimated 730,000 workers in Washington make the minimum wage of $9.47. If a worker didn’t take a single hour of vacation in a year, they’d earn $19,697, which is below the poverty line for a family of three. That wage floor must rise. Source

Everett Herald Opinion: I-1433’s leave policies would aid victims of domestic violence

By Traci Underwood, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Published in The Everett Herald   When a victim of domestic violence is trying to escape from an abusive partner, the last decision she should have to make is whether to get herself or her kids to safety or lose a paycheck. But for too many Washington women, not having access to paid time off can mean the difference between staying in a dangerous situation or having the time they need to get out from under an abuser’s control. Initiative 1433 will allow more than 1 million Washington workers to earn paid sick and safe leave and raise the state minimum wage to $13.50 over four years. That’s why I’m voting “Yes” on I-1433 this November, and I hope you do, too. The reality is that 1 in 3 women experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives. Barriers to getting safe and stable are varied, but many survivors report that they stay in abusive situations out of economic necessity or financial dependence. Paid sick and safe leave offers domestic violence survivors a lifeline to care for themselves and their families, find a secure living situation, seek medical attention and even go to court — without losing a paycheck. Source

Kitsap Sun Opinion: Boosting Kitsap’s economy and helping families

By Louise Chernin, President & CEO, Greater Seattle Business Association Published in The Kitsap Sun   Running a business involves having to make a lot of tough decisions, but sometimes we have the opportunity to do something that's just common sense, benefits our workers and is good for our business. On Nov. 8, we can boost local economies across Washington by voting "yes" on Initiative 1433, which will gradually raise the state minimum wage to $13.50 over four years and allow all workers to earn paid sick leave. As the president and CEO of the Greater Seattle Business Association, I know I-1433 will be good for our state's businesses and workers. As a regional chamber, GSBA represents nearly 1,200 business owners across Washington, including business owners here on the Kitsap Peninsula, and our organization overwhelmingly voted to endorse a yes vote on 1433. And we're not alone — I-1433 is also endorsed by the Main Street Alliance of Washington, which represents hundreds of small business owners across the state. As any business owner knows, the most important part of a business is having customers. When workers in our communities aren't paid enough to support themselves or their families, they can't afford to support small businesses in their communities. I-1433 would raise the minimum wage for more than 730,000 workers and families, putting $600 more in the pocket of a minimum-wage worker every month. When low-wage workers make a little more, they spend it right away, which means businesses make more and create more good-paying jobs. According to the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, I-1433 will inject $2.5 billion in new spending into our economy every year. That's good for business and local economies from Poulsbo to Walla Walla. Raising the minimum wage is good for the economy because it puts more money in more peoples' pockets. That's why every state that raised its minimum wage in 2014 saw faster job growth than states that didn't. Source

Crosscut Opinion: Washington’s low minimum wage is bad for business

by Barry Faught, owner of Broadcast Coffee, and Charles Mayer, family physician Published in Crosscut   As a small business owner and a family doctor, we might seem like an unlikely duo to be writing an op-ed in support of a statewide ballot initiative. But this year, Washington voters have a chance to do something that matters to both of us: lift up Washington families, boost our economy and protect the health and safety of our communities. That’s why we’re urging you to join us in voting “Yes” on Initiative 1433 to raise the state minimum wage to $13.50 over four years and allow more than 1 million workers to start earning paid sick leave. It’s the right thing to do and the smart thing to do for Washington. Our support reflects the broad coalition working to pass this important initiative. Endorsements for Yes On 1433 include the Main Street Alliance, representing hundreds of small business owners across Washington; the Children’s Alliance; the Washington Academy of Family Physicians; the YWCA of King and Snohomish Counties; the Seattle Human Services Coalition; the League of Women Voters; the Greater Seattle Business Association; and dozens of other groups across the state. Source

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray meet with Business Owners, Health Care Experts and Workers to discuss Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave, Support Initiative 1433

Today Raise Up Washington and the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) hosted a roundtable discussion with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on the importance of raising the state minimum wage and passing a statewide paid sick leave policy. Initiative 1433, which will be on the ballot in November, … READ MORE

Spokesman-Review Opinion: Wage increase means more customers for my businesses

By Shahrokh Nikfar, owner, Caffé Affogato and Mediterrano Published in The Spokesman-Review   20160721_102054I opened my coffee shop and restaurant in downtown Spokane almost two years ago. From the beginning, I knew that the most important assets of my businesses are my employees. Caring for their well-being and treating them with respect have been the best decisions I have made. As a result, they love their jobs, take great care of my businesses and continue to contribute beyond my expectations. Success in business should not ever be based on supporting an economy of poverty. Rather, it needs to be a win-win situation for all of us. That’s why I’m voting yes on Initiative 1433 to raise the state minimum wage to $13.50 over four years and allow all workers to earn paid sick leave. It’s the right thing to do and smart for Spokane’s economy. As families get priced out of the middle class, businesses like mine lose customers. Every year, the cost of rent, groceries and utilities go up, as do things like movie tickets and dinners out. What hasn’t kept up is wages – and that hurts businesses like mine. Source