Monday, May 1, 2017
May Day Failure
A May Day Tale: Seattle Worker Loves $15 Minimum Wage — Until He Loses His Job
Devin Jeran, an employee at Z Pizza in Seattle, was stoked to get a raise, from
$11 to $15 an hour as part of a new law that takes effect today.
He was happy to get a raise, when Seattle’s minimum wage went up to $11 an
hour at the beginning of the month.
“I definitely recognize that having more money is important,” he told local TV
station Q13-Fox, “especially in a city as expensive as this one.”
But that didn't last long. "Unfortunately, he’ll only enjoy that bigger paycheck
for a few more months. In August, his boss is shutting down Z Pizza and putting
him and his 11 co-workers out of work," the station reported.
Today, across the country, workers are striking. Some 21,000 AT&T Wireless
workers were expected to walk off the job, WZVN reports. And the protests
occurred around the world as workers demanded better pay and better working conditions, ABC reported.
But for Jeran, things are going to get worse, RedAlertPolitics reports.
"[Z Pizza] owner Ritu Shah Burnham said she just can’t afford the
city’s mandated wage hikes.
“I’ve let one person go since April 1, I’ve cut hours since April 1,
I’ve taken them myself because I don’t pay myself,” she told Q13.
“I’ve also raised my prices a little bit, there’s no other way to do it.”
Small businesses in Seattle have up to six more years to phase in the new $15 an hour minimum wage, but even though she only has 12 employees, Z Pizza counts as part of a “large business franchise.” As
a result, she is on a sped up timeline to implement the full raise.
“I know that I would have stayed here if I had 7 years, just like
everyone else, if I had an even playing field,” she said. “The discrimination I’m feeling right now against my small business makes