Seattle sees fallout from $15 minimum wage, as other cities follow suit
Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law is supposed to lift workers out of poverty and move them off public assistance. But there may be a hitch in the plan.
Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don’t lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.
Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.
一家名为“终身照料”（Full Life Care）的非盈利家庭护理机构告诉西雅图的KIRO-TV电视台，他们的一些员工希望减少工作量。
“If they cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn’t actually help get them out of poverty, all you’ve done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people,” said Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz show on 97.3 KIRO-FM.
“如果他们因为每小时15美元的最低工资并不能真正帮他们摆脱贫穷而减少他们的工时以保持补贴，那么这一切不过是给企业增加了负担并给了很多人虚假希望，” KIRO-FM 97.3广播节目Jason Rantz show的主持人Jason Rantz如是说。
The twist is just one apparent side effect of the controversial — yet trendsetting — minimum wage law in Seattle, which is being copied in several other cities despite concerns over prices rising and businesses struggling to keep up.
The notion that employees are intentionally working less to preserve their welfare has been a hot topic on talk radio. While the claims are difficult to track, state stats indeed suggest few are moving off welfare programs under the new wage.
Despite a booming economy throughout western Washington, the state’s welfare caseload has dropped very little since the higher wage phase began in Seattle in April. In March 130,851 people were enrolled in the Basic Food program. In April, the caseload dropped to 130,376.
尽管整个华盛顿州西部的经济处于繁荣之中，但西雅图的高薪规定自四月生效以来，州政府的待处理福利申请案数量却几乎没有下降。三月份，有130851人被纳入基本食品计划（Basic Food program）之中，这一数字在四月仅仅降低到了130376。
At the same time, prices appear to be going up on just about everything.
Some restaurants have tacked on a 15 percent surcharge to cover the higher wages. And some managers are no longer encouraging customers to tip, leading to a redistribution of income. Workers in the back of the kitchen, such as dishwashers and cooks, are getting paid more, but servers who rely on tips are seeing a pay cut.
Some long-time Seattle restaurants have closed altogether, though none of the owners publicly blamed the minimum wage law.
“It’s what happens when the government imposes a restriction on the labor market that normally wouldn’t be there, and marginal businesses get hit the hardest, and usually those are small, neighborhood businesses,” said Paul Guppy, of the Washington Policy Center.
“当政府给劳动力市场施加正常情况下不应有的限制时，就会发生这种状况，处于边际上的企业受打击最沉重，而通常它们是些小型的社区企业，” 华盛顿政策中心（Washington Policy Center）的Paul Guppy如是说。
Seattle was followed by San Francisco and Los Angeles in passing a $15 minimum wage law. The wage is being phased in over several years to give businesses time to adjust. The current minimum wage in Seattle is $11. In San Francisco, it’s $12.25.
And it is spreading. Beyond the city of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week also approved a $15 minimum wage.
这种做法正在蔓延。不仅仅是洛杉矶市，洛杉矶县管理委员会（Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors）本周也通过了15美元最低工资法。
New York state could be next, with the state Wage Board on Wednesday backing a $15 wage for fast-food workers, something Gov.Andrew Cuomo has supported.
纽约州可能是下一个，和州长Andrew Cuomo一样，州工资委员会（Wage Board）周三也支持了针对快餐业工人的15美元最低工资标准。
Already, though, there are unintended consequences in other cities.
Comix Experience, a small book store in downtown San Francisco, has begun selling graphic novel club subscriptions in order to meet payroll. The owner, Brian Hibbs, admits members are not getting all that much for their $25 per month dues, but their “donation” is keeping him in business.
旧金山城区的小书店Comix Experience已开始对图画小说俱乐部收取会费以便应付工资开销。店主Brian Hibbs承认，会员们得到的好处不值每月25美元的会费，但是他们的“赞助”让他能把生意维持下去。
“I was looking at potentially having to close the store down and then how would I make my living?” Hibbs asked.
To date, he’s sold 228 subscriptions. He says he needs 334 to reach his goal of the $80,000 income required to cover higher labor costs. He doesn’t blame San Francisco voters for approving the $15 minimum wage, but he doesn’t think they had all the information needed to make a good decision.
Dan Springer joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in August 2001 as a Seattle-based correspondent.
Dan Springer于2001年8月作为驻西雅图通讯记者加入了福克斯新闻频道(Fox News Channel).