Washington State Minimum Wage Watch

Date: August 01, 2016

The articles on this page serve as a one-stop resource for NFIB members and the public at large on the minimum-wage issue. They are listed chronologically from the most recent down to a 2013 article shortly before voters in Sea-Tac passed Proposition 1, making their city the first in the nation with a $15 minimum wage.

Most of the articles have appeared on the NFIB/Washington web page. Others have come from the Freedom Foundation, the Washington Policy Center, and other sources. This story will be updated periodically.

The minimum wage is an entry-level wage earned almost exclusively by teens, young adults, and the least skilled. The seminal study confirming this is the regularly updated Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Increases in the minimum wage have one immediate and lasting effect: Job losses for those teens, young adults, and least skilled. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, this has not stopped politicians from mischaracterizing the minimum wage as a family sustaining, living, or poverty reducing wage.

Washington Post, July 29—Why raising the minimum wage in Seattle did little to help workers, according to a new study.
“The economy has changed in ways that give businesses more options for cutting back on labor.”

British Broadcasting Corporation, June 15—In a 20-minute report, the BBC interviews a variety of people about Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage.
“We’re going to have to look at the job everyone does and shrink them,” said chef-owner Jason Wilson of Miller’s Guild restaurant, who describes his first minimum-wage job. “It’s not meant to support a family.”

INFOGRAPHIC: Minimum Wage Myths Busted—May 5, 2016
There is no crisis; workers are not stuck in minimum-wage jobs; minimum-wage work is not a dead-end job.

Minimum Wage Facts Website—April 22, 2016
Basic economics, backed up by decades of research, shows that raising the minimum wage is not only ineffective at helping the working poor, but is actually counterproductive.



An Increased Minimum Wage is Reverting Seattle Back to the Recession—April 19, 2016
Seattle’s minimum wage hike has come back to haunt the city. Since phasing in its minimum wage law in April 2015, Seattle has lost 11,000 jobs while the rest of the state has added nearly 79,000 jobs.

Sleepless in Seattle-70 Attempts at Minimum Wage Work—March 31, 2016
In his personal account, Mitch Hall pins the blame on Seattle’s nationally high minimum-wage rate for his inability to find work after 70 tries.

New Year, Same Fight: NFIB Continues to Oppose Minimum Wage Hikes in Washington—March 1, 2016
Today we have five minimum wages in the state, four different paid sick leave policies—all with conflicting and sometimes confusing regulatory and recording standards, he told the legislature.

Evidence Show Seattle Minimum Wage Costing Jobs—February 22, 2016
It made history by passing the highest minimum-wage rates in the nation in 2014, but new research shows it could turn out be an historic blunder.

Who Suffers the Most From Minimum Wage Hikes?—January 26, 2016
Franchise businesses are likelier than non-franchise small businesses to reduce staff members, cut hours and increase automation to cope with a $15 minimum wage hike, according to the EPI.

Are Washington State Minimum Wage Increases on the Horizon?—November 18, 2015
Tacoma and Spokane voters took up minimum wage increases on their Nov. 3 ballots, and the results might shape the debate on a statewide minimum wage when the legislature convenes in January.

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Minimum Wage Surcharge: What Washington Businesses Need to Know—October 13, 2015
These labor surcharges are perfectly legal, State Attorney General Bob Ferguson concluded, as long as businesses are transparent about how they’re used. Ferguson’s office recently released guidelines for those who choose to follow this route.

No Minimum Wage Increase for 2016—September 30, 2015
The agency responsible for setting Washington state’s minimum-wage rate announced on the last day of September that it will remain the same for all of 2016 — $9.47.

NFIB Legal Center clarifies the right of small business to protest minimum-wage hikes—September 14, 2015
the Surcharge Guidance has sparked some degree of controversy, as one group has raised questions as to whether or not the Guidance inappropriately discourages businesses from exercising their First Amendment rights to protest minimum wage hikes.

U.S. Restaurant Owners Warn of Dire Consequences From $15 Minimum Wage—September 10, 2015
As large cities across the US from Seattle to Los Angeles to New York City implement or consider $15 per hour minimum wages, business owners are sounding alarms about the consequences.

Member Alert: Attorney General’s Minimum Wage Ruling—September 9, 2016
If you are adding surcharges to bills for the ostensible purpose of offsetting the costs of complying with heightened minimum wage requirements, then monies collected through the surcharge must actually go toward paying wages.

Seattle-Area Compensation Growth Dwarfs Rest of Nation—September 1, 2015
In Seattle, Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Restaurant Association, said the wage increase would raise labor costs as a total percentage of expenses to 42 percent for quick-service restaurants and 47 percent for full-service restaurants. Before the wage increase, only 36 percent of funds went to labor in a typical cost breakdown for Seattle restaurants.

Job Losses From Minimum Wage Increases Worse Than Reported—August 25, 2015
Three West Coast cities raised their minimum wage—and are now paying the price in job losses.

The Trade-Offs of a Higher Minimum Wage—July 26, 2015
Washington Policy Center video educates viewers about the real-life consequences

The Failure of Initiative 688—May 14, 2015
Wasn’t the passage of Initiative 688 in 1998 supposed to de-politicize the issue of the state’s minimum-wage rate forever, alleviate poverty and cause no harm to employment opportunities?

Washington Ranks 35th in Economic Outlook—May 5, 2015
Minimum wage, other factors hurt state, study says

16,000 Jobs Lost Under House Bill 1355—April 5, 2015
Washington state could lose more than $7 billion in economic output and 16,000 jobs should House Bill 1355 become law, according to testimony given today by Patrick Connor, Washington state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Seattle Restaurants Closing Their Doors Ahead of Minimum-Wage Increase—March 20, 2015
An increase in Seattle’s minimum wage, which is set to take effect on April 1, is being cited as one major factor contributing to the closure of a number of the city’s restaurants.

Washington Small-Business Owners Worry About Minimum Wage Proposal—February 11, 2015
While a higher minimum wage aims to help employees, it could actually put them out of work. Barkis says a $15 minimum wage, which some have argued for, would make it impossible for him to hire the seasonal help he usually does, at $10 to $11 an hour.

Teen Wage Bills Could Help Washington Small Businesses—March 13, 2015
Two bills introduced in the legislature this session could provide some relief for Washington small businesses while creating more entry-level opportunities for teens across the state.

Seattle Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour—June 4, 2014
On Monday, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which would make it the highest in the nation.

Seattle Considering Raising Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour—April 7, 2014
The increase, according to the study, would fall most heavily on the hotel and restaurant industry.

Big Labor to Small Business: Do as we say, not as we do—October 11, 2013
In advance of a November ballot measure to require a $15 per hour minimum wage and mandatory paid leave benefits for transportation and hospitality workers in the city of Seatac, the Freedom Foundation has released an insightful report revealing the unions behind these efforts fail to heed their own rhetoric.

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