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Tip penalty, enthusiasm drain, deadly politics…

Thursday, April 10, 2014




tip-penalty► MUST-READ in the Stranger — It’s not a tip credit, it’s a tip penalty (by Saru Jayaraman) — Tips are not wages. Certainly, customers don’t think of tips that way. When we leave a tip, we tend to think of it as a bonus — an extra thanks for good service and hard work. In Seattle and across the country, tips can vary wildly, regardless of quality of service. Wages should be based on hiring commitments of employers and hours worked, not whether a customer is feeling generous that day… The momentum to raise the regular minimum wage in other states includes campaigns to raise and even abolish the tipped minimum wage. There are ballot initiatives and legislation moving forward in four more states to eliminate the tipped minimum wage—why would Seattle move backward on this issue while the rest of the country is progressing?

► At Slog — Restaurant guy David Meinert urges staff to lobby for tip deduction or ‘tips will probably go away’ — Seattle restaurateur David Meinert is behind a campaign to convince restaurant workers that “tips will probably go away” if the city passes a base wage of $15 an hour for all employees, according to an letter leaked to The Stranger.

sky-remains-aloft► In today’s Seattle Times — Group launches campaign to fend off $15 minimum wage — Former SeaTac City Council member Rick Forschler, who said his opposition to the $15 minimum wage there cost him his seat in last November’s election, is part of a grassroots organization of small-business owners and activists campaigning against a similar wage for Seattle. He calls the proposed $15-an-hour wage hike a jobs killer.

ALSO at The Stand — Labor laws set and ‘The Sky Remains Aloft’ — A new report chronicles the history of the business lobby’s mistaken doomsday predictions about the negative impacts of establishing or raising labor standards.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Raise the minimum wage to keep middle class strong (by Lori Pfingst) — Raising the minimum wage isn’t a silver bullet. It wouldn’t solve the problem of income inequality alone, but it is a crucial component of a broad strategy to help workers and our economy. It’s also crucial that this time around we build a more inclusive middle class, where people of color and women have an equal shot at prosperity. It will take more than just wages. Other measures essential to economic security include affordable child care and health care, high-quality education for all, family-leave insurance and a more equitable tax system.




st-skilled-immigrant► In today’s Seattle Times — Orcas Island tries to protect skilled immigrant facing deportation — Benjamin Nuñez-Marquez has won the hearts of people on Orcas Island with his unique talent and they are fighting hard to stop his deportation, saying it would not only force a small family-run sawmill to close but hurt the economy of the region. Sen. Patty Murray said that in her 21 years in office, she has never seen this level and intensity of support for a single individual.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Alaska Airlines’ clerical union agree to 5-year contract — Alaska Airlines said 2,500 of its clerical, office and passenger service employees (IAM) agreed to a new five-year contract.

► In today’s Columbian — Former state legislator Val Ogden dies — Val Ogden, a tireless community advocate and former legislator who worked to promote women in leadership roles, secure funding for the Washington State University Vancouver campus in Clark County and improve the lives of those less fortunate, died Wednesday afternoon. She was 90 years old.




obama-thinking► In Roll Call — On trade, Obama faces tough political dance — As it seeks a signature economic achievement for President Obama’s second term, the administration must defuse labor’s fierce opposition to bring congressional Democrats on board. But in pressing for new free trade deals the White House doesn’t want to drain enthusiasm, and depress voter turnout, from a major Democratic bloc in the upcoming midterm elections.

EDITOR’S NOTE — And speaking of draining enthusiasm…

► In today’s Washington Post– Few rewards for the Obama administration’s rigidity on deportations (editorial) — Something is very wrong with the administration’s approach. It has stressed its muscular enforcement efforts as evidence of the president’s toughness. The hope was to persuade reluctant Republicans to support a sweeping overhaul of immigration policy, including a pathway to citizenship for long-term illegal immigrants who held jobs, paid fines and proved they were law-abiding residents. That strategy has failed. Even as Obama’s approach has broken up countless families with deep roots in the United States, it has been politically fruitless.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Sen. Murray: Budget would put Hanford deadlines at risk — At least four and possibly more legal deadlines for environmental cleanup at the Hanford nuclear reservation could be at risk under the Obama administration’s proposed 2015 Hanford budget, according to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

mad-women-equal-pay► At AFL-CIO Now — All Senate Republicans say ‘no’ to Paycheck Fairness — Most Republican lawmakers say they believe in fair and equal pay for women. But a day after Equal Pay Day, when Republican senators had a chance to vote for a bill that would have gone a long way to achieving that goal, not a single one cast a vote to just allow debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, let alone pass it.

► At Politico — Senate GOP blocks pay equity bill — “This isn’t over. Equal pay for equal work is going to remain center stage in this year’s agenda, and we are not going to let the Republicans who blocked this bill off the hook. That could absolutely mean another vote later in the year,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chamber’s highest-ranking woman.

► In today’s NY Times — The truth about the pay gap (editorial) — The problem persists even in workplaces committed to gender equality, and those who stand in the way of fairness do so at their own peril.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Colbert on equal pay: “Good news, ladies. If you’re 38 years old, financially you’re just 29.“

► A related story in The Hill — Approval of Congress stands at 13%




► At Buzzfeed — T-Mobile manager sought to ban high-fives among pro-union workers — The NLRB ruled Tuesday that it will consolidate several labor complaints against a major cell phone service provider over the past several years. The ruling will allow for a joint decision from the NLRB on T-Mobile and MetroPCS’s alleged anti-union practices nationwide.




dill-charlene-Medicaid► At Think Progress — This 32-year-old Florida woman is dead because her state refused to expand Medicaid — Charlene Dill, a 32-year-old mother of three, collapsed and died on a stranger’s floor at the end of March. She was at an appointment to try to sell a vacuum cleaner, one of the three part-time jobs that she worked to try to make ends meet for her family. Her death was a result of a documented heart condition — and it could have been prevented. Dill was uninsured, and she went years without the care she needed to address her chronic conditions because she couldn’t afford it.

Under the health reform law, Dill wasn’t supposed to lack insurance. She was supposed to have access to a public health plan through the law’s expansion of the Medicaid program. But Dill, a Florida resident, is one of the millions of Americans living in a state that has refused to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion after the Supreme Court ruled this provision to be optional. Those low-income people have been left in a coverage gap, making too much income to qualify for a public Medicaid plan but too little income to qualify for the federal subsidies to buy a plan on Obamacare’s private exchanges.


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