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$15 minimum wage ordinance proposed for Olympia

The following is from Working Washington:

olympia-15-frontOLYMPIA (Oct. 27, 2015) — The City of Olympia could become the next jurisdiction to pass a $15 wage and expand workers’ rights, joining a growing wave of cities and states across the country taking action to raise up workers, address inequality, and strengthen local economies. The proposed new ordinance will be discussed before council today (Tuesday, Oct. 27) at a 5:30 p.m. study session at Olympia City Hall, 601 4th Ave. E.

TAKE A STAND! Use your phone to send a video message now to the City Council in support of this ordinance.

Councilmember Cooper’s new legislation would:

●  Phase in a $15 minimum wage over two years for large companies, and over four years for smaller employers. Currently, one in three Olympia workers is paid less than $15.

●  Provide paid sick & safe time for all workers. About 1 million workers in Washington State don’t have any paid sick time, and half of food service workers report that they regularly go to work sick.

●  Ensure work schedules are compatible with family, school, and life by requiring 11 hours of rest between shifts, 3 weeks notice of schedules, and allowing current employees to have a chance to access additional hours before other employees are brought on. In Olympia, 53% of hospitality workers and 42.9% of retail workers currently work part time.

“I love my job — except for the fact that I can’t pay for rent, food, internet, electricity, or my medical bills,” said Nicola Purpura, an Olympia food service worker. “And at my job I might have 25 hours one week, and 11 the next. I work any time they call me in.”

“We have very beautiful and vibrant local businesses here that are really suffering because the common person doesn’t have enough money to go shop at those places,” said Jae Townsend, who works at Jimmy John’s in Olympia. “There are so many little restaurants and little boutiques that I would love and go be a patron of, but I don’t have the extra money at the end of the month. I barely have enough to pay my bills.”

“A few months ago, I got extremely sick and missed four days of work,” said Nichole Alexander, who works at an Olympia McDonald’s. “I had to borrow money in order to get all my bills paid. I’m trying really hard to get my life back on track. I just really wish I made enough money to get ahead instead of living paycheck to paycheck.”

More information:

●  A copy of the proposed ordinance is available here.

●  The Puget Sound Business Journal wrote last week about “the cuts that never came” after Seattle raised wages.

●  A review of Olympia economic and demographic data is available online.


CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!