Posted 6 days ago

Attention journalists: internet comments about tipping aren’t a story

The Seattle Weekly has a story out this week with your usual journalism-lite helping of mean quotes about tipping (breaking: people on the internet really hate tips), but person-with-a-comment remains a pretty sorry way to look at the issue of tips, wages, and poverty. Or to look at… anything. 

So, to all you journalists out there, here’s some actual data: In nearby Idaho, the minimum wage for tipped workers is $3.35/hour. (In much of the country, it’s $2.13.) Here in Washington it’s of course $9.32/hour. So do servers in Spokane report lower tips or lower income than in Couer D’Alene? NO, THEY DO NOT. Because there is zero evidence beyond snitty internet comments that tips are a response of wage levels. The Bureau of Labor Statistics actually collects data on servers’ income (including tips) — a better resource to consult than the bitter comments of a few restaurant owners still angry they lost the public debate in Seattle.

Furthermore, every city & state which has raised the minimum wage for tipped workers has seen total incomes for servers increase. That’s true in Washington, true in Oregon, true in San Francisco, and will be true in Seattle as $15 phases in. No matter what restaurant owners and their lobby groups like to say, paying tipped workers more money means more money for those workers.

Of course it does.

Posted 1 week ago

Microsoft Ditches ALEC In Latest Blow To Conservative Group

Another company leaves the secretive lobbying group behind such gems as “Stand Your Ground” and “Right to Work.”

Posted 3 weeks ago

Guest Editorial: It's a McWedding and I'm Lovin' It

McDonald’s and their franchisees already share responsibility for working conditions and wages. So the wedding ceremony we threw them inside the Denny triangle McDonald’s just made it official. Check out our op-ed published in PubliCola!

Posted 3 weeks ago



Finally some sense. This is because activists shed a light on Walgreens attempt and shouted it down!

Posted 1 month ago

A forever-commitment of McDonald’s and Franchisees

McDonald’s Corporation and franchisees tie the knot, take joint responsibility for employees


In a intimate ceremony held in the Denny Triangle neighborhood this morning, McDonald’s Corporation was formally betrothed to its franchisees, marking the long-awaited Federal recognition of their status as joint employers. (The couple is registered in Federal district court, where their lobby group is suing to block the $15 minimum wage, and also at the New York Stock Exchange, where they’re worth billions of dollars.)

The most beautiful moment came when McDonald’s Corporation was asked “Do you recognize the franchisees and their half-million employees as your lawfully-joined partner?" and choking away the tears, they responded with a heartfelt "I do".

The vows were also touching:

I, McDonald’s Corporation, a multibillion-dollar Oak Brook, Illinois based global enterprise do hereby promise to cherish my Franchisee, by providing extensive rules, regulations, and investments. For richer or for even richer, in sick-days or in health, in lawsuits and in lobbyists, as long as we both are incorporated.

The franchisees made similar vows:

I, Franchisee, do hereby promise to love, honor, and especially obey, McDonald’s, following all of their rules. For richer or for even richer, in sick-days or in health, in lawsuits and in lobbyists, as long as we both are incorporated.

The words of the officiant are also worth savoring:

Who here had a feeling this was going to happen ever since McDonald’s first started seeing its franchisees more than a half-century ago? Raise your hands if you just *knew* these two were really one. They’re so much the same, when they lock eyes, it’s like looking in the mirror!

What’s incredible is that over the years, their relationship has only grown stronger. Even today, every time there’s a corporate inspector in a store — and that happens a *lot* — you can see this special glint in their eyes.

It’s not just about ensuring adherence to an encyclopedic list of rules and procedures — it’s about history, and togetherness. And consistency.

The relationship between these two is so strong that everywhere you go, when its McDonald’s and a franchisee united, things are EXACTLY THE SAME. The food, the advertising, the working conditions, the training, the scheduling system. EXACTLY THE SAME.

That’s true intimacy, and that’s really something.

So we stand here today underneath these golden wedding arches not to unite McDonald’s and its franchisees. No, that time has long since passed.

We stand here ready to gorge ourselves on the meal of happiness because today, they can bring their love out of the alleyways where Hamburglars roam.

We no longer need grimace because the Federal government this week has taken yet another grand step forward in recognizing true love, pronouncing that McDonald’s and its franchisees can be treated as one. And that’s something worth celebrating.

Just a year ago, while the love and the relationship between McDonald’s and its franchisees were exactly the same as today, this ceremony may not have been possible in the eyes of the Federal government.

Sure, they made time to get away together at International Franchise Association events — just think, they’ve been sharing a DC lobby group this whole time, of course we all knew about them! But they weren’t quite ready to come out into the open.

Like in all relationships, they even argued sometimes.

When workers went on strike against poverty wages, McDonald’s would point the finger at franchisees and say they didn’t have any power. Then the franchisees would point the finger right back at McDonald’s and say they couldn’t afford it. Oh those two & their little spats!

There are arguments in every relationship. And most relationships don’t come with an operations manual. But this one does. Several, actually.

There’s a franchise agreement, and there are long and extremely detailed appendices, and there are training procedures, and grill and fryer and inventory operations manuals, and real estate contracts, and advertising agreements, and scheduling software. It’s thousands of pages. Spells the whole thing out. No room for error.

It’s really an extraordinary way to be together, and it says a whole lot about them.

So let’s supersize this relationship!

Posted 1 month ago
#TBT Minimum Wage Edition. 1923. Sound familiar?

"No greater calamity could befall the wage earners of the 
country than to have the legislative power to fix wages upheld… 
It will logically, if persisted in, end in social disorder and revolution.”

—Opinion by District Court Justice Van Orsdel that declared a Washington D.C. minimum wage law invalid.

#TBT Minimum Wage Edition. 1923. Sound familiar?

"No greater calamity could befall the wage earners of the 
country than to have the legislative power to fix wages upheld… 
It will logically, if persisted in, end in social disorder and revolution.”
—Opinion by District Court Justice Van Orsdel that declared a Washington D.C. minimum wage law invalid.
Posted 1 month ago

Fast food workers score a big win against McDonald’s

McDonald’s can no longer get away with reaping all the benefits and the profits while saddling their franchises with all the risks and the costs.

Posted 1 month ago

First class airport, poverty class wages — but not for long. Bags workers, who serve customers of Alaska Airlines, at Sea-Tac Airport just won a union for good pay, benefits, and respect!

Posted 1 month ago

BREAKING: Minimum wage repeal referendum will NOT qualify for the ballot

Latest numbers from King County Elections show that Forward Seattle’s referendum to repeal $15 cannot reach the necessary signature threshold and will not qualify for the ballot

King County Elections has now reviewed well over half of the referendum petitions submitted by Forward Seattle, and their fringe effort to repeal the minimum wage law has come up short. So far, 15,004 of Forward Seattle’s 18,928 petition signatures have been reviewed, and only 11,412 have been validated as legitimate signatures from actual voters — a 76% verification rate. At this point, Forward Seattle could not meet the minimum standard of 16,510 valid signatures even if every single one of the 3,924 remaining signatures were verified.

The numbers are clear: Forward Seattle’s minimum wage repeal will not qualify for the ballot. Our phased-in $15 minimum wage law will take effect as passed unanimously by the City Council and signed into law by the Mayor.

“Getting $15 will change my life because I wouldn’t feel like I’m in debt with everybody,” said Terran Lyons, a Seattle McDonald’s worker and a leader with Working Washington. “I could pay my bills on time and give my kids what they need. If my son loses his shoe when he’s playing outside, I won’t have to be worried about how I can buy him a new pair.”

Support for the $15 minimum wage law is so strong in Seattle that once word got out to the public that Forward Seattle was using misleading tactics to try and repeal the minimum wage, signature gathering ground to a halt — even moving in reverse as hundreds of people formally withdrew their signatures from the referendum in the final hours.

Seattle made history by taking on the crisis of income inequality with a $15 minimum wage will help ensure everyone can support themselves, afford the basics, and contribute to the economy. It will raise up Seattle’s 100,000 low-wage workers, providing a $3 billion boost to the economy over the next decade that will generate abundant opportunities for every business that is looking to bring in more customers.

The first raises under Seattle’s minimum wage law take effect April 1, 2015, and the first group of Seattle workers reaches $15/hour on January 1, 2017.

Summary from King County Elections:

Referendum No. 2 (Forward Seattle)
Number of signatures submitted 18,928
Number of signatures reviewed 15,004
Number of signatures verified 11,412

Posted 1 month ago

So who did Forward Seattle pay to gather those signatures anyway?

The financial disclosure form Forward Seattle filed with Seattle Ethics & Elections on 7/10/2014 lists one major expenditure: paid signature gathering. Given the numerous reports of misleading and even corrupt signature gathering practices they engaged in, it’s interesting to see what firm they’re using.

Turns out it’s “Citizen Solutions, Inc.”

Citizen Solutions is a large signature gathering company known for its work on Tim Eyman initiatives. And this may not be a surprise, but: they’ve been under an ethical cloud for some time.

Former State Representative Mary Lou Dickerson has exposed their less-than-savory track on employment and other issues.

The Stranger called a 2012 Citizen Solutions signature gathering scandal: “one of the most egregious campaign-disclosure violations since voters approved the Public Disclosure Act in 1972”.

And Citizen Solutions has even been called out by state elections officials, after they submitted thousands of invalid signatures — an apparent act of fraud that led a “furious” Secretary of State Kim Wyman to call for criminal action.

The spending disclosure to Seattle Ethics and Elections completes the circle: Forward Seattle is being funded by extreme right-wing conservatives, real estate interests, and corporate executives; and they’re using that money to fund corrupt signature gathering operations by an Eyman-friendly firm which had already been accused of fraud even before this latest round of disturbing practices.

All the more reason for elections officials to closely scrutinize every piece of paperwork they submitted to ensure they actually include valid signatures from real people.