Seattle PI: “May Day march for workers, immigrants in Seattle”
Organizers of a May Day march in Seattle say they’re marching for immigrant and worker rights, including the campaign for a $15 minimum wage.
The 3 p.m. march and rally at the downtown Westlake Park has a permit. It is organized by El Comite and the May1st Action Coalition.
There are social media postings from two anti-capitalists groups that do not have permits and that are planning separate evening marches.
Police say they welcome free speech but they have been taking precautions because of May Day violence the past two years in downtown Seattle.
Freshly returned from East Coast travel and on the morning of Seattle’s annual day of worker rights activism, Mayor Ed Murray is said to be ready announce his office’s proposal for raising the minimum wage in Seattle to $15.
A news conference has been scheduled for City Hall for 10 AM. Later in the afternoon, thousands of marchers will pass through the core of the city to downtown to bring attention to worker and immigrant rights as police prepare for the annual return of violence by anti-capitalist and anti-police protestors.
Last week as a milestone came and went without agreement on recommendations from his committee of labor and business interests convened to provide guidance on the wage, Murray held a press conference to say the framework of a deal was in place.
CHS reported that people involved with planning the proposal said the plan will offer a two-pronged approach for both small businesses and large, 500+ employee businesses. Small businesses offering health insurance or with tipped employees would get to count those benefits towards a minimum wage and get seven years to phase-in all employees to at least $15 an hour. Small businesses with no health insurance or tipped workers would be given a five-year phase-in period. Large businesses would face similar options, with a four-year phase-in for employers of tipped or insured workers, and a three-year phase-in for those without tipped or insured workers.
Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce director Michael Wells and and Lost Lake owner David Meinert are members of the Income Inequality Task Force. Meanwhile, a charter amendment has been filed by the 15 Now group so activists can begin the process of collecting thousands of signatures to put the issue on the ballot this fall.
A flurry of groups and coalitions have formed around the city in recent months to weigh in on the issue after the Kshama Sawant-backed 15 Now campaign dominated much of the early debate. The new Council member made the issue a key part of her campaign in defeating a longtime incumbent and has been critical of Murray and City Hall’s progress on the issue of income inequality in the city.