Seattle’s minimum wage raise gave me the breathing room I needed

On January 1st, Whole Foods decided to raise our wages four months earlier than the April 1st implementation date, to $11 an hour. That was the first step to $15, which has a phase-in period and would reach $15 in 2017 for large companies.

My increase translated to about $120 more a month. Before this, I didn’t have a smartphone, and I was able to put that extra income towards purchasing a phone through my family’s plan. That purchase was actually key to obtaining a new job as a delivery driver at a local sushi restaurant in March 2015, where I earn more from tips, because I was able to use that phone as a GPS to navigate around Seattle.

Aside from that major purchase, the wage increase has given my wife and I some breathing room, and allows us to take a day every once in a while to get take-out from a restaurant, as well as being a little healthier in our choices at the grocery store.

Read more at the Guardian.

How Strategic Enforcement Fuels Compliance with Labor Laws

When we fill up our tanks, we’re aware of the price we’re paying for gas. But for those of us who live in New Jersey or Oregon, or have ever passed through a station that employs attendants to pump gas, did you stop to think about the wages paid to that attendant? At the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, that’s what I think about. And we’re working to ensure that employers in this industry hit the gas on efforts to pay properly at the pump.

New Jersey is one of the two states (along with Oregon) where motorists are prohibited from pumping their own gas. Gas stations in New Jersey employ thousands of attendants − typically vulnerable, low-wage workers who are, for a variety of reasons, at risk for working under conditions where they are not paid all of the wages legally due them.

Read more at here from DOL.

Enforcing $15 wage: Job unfilled a week before law goes into effect

In November, the Seattle City Council looked ahead to the new minimum wage law and approved the creation of an Office of Labor Standards within Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights. The office is generally tasked with ensuring fair working conditions, safety and general labor standards, but its establishment was with a specific eye toward enforcing Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance, set to begin taking effect on April 1.

With less than a week until the minimum wage goes up to $11 an hour at the largest companies, however, the office does not have a director…

Read the full article at Crosscut.com.

Minimum Wage Increase Killing Seattle Restaurants? Anatomy Of A Lie From Inside The Bubble

It all began with a story published earlier this month in a local, Seattle lifestyle magazine, complete with a headline designed to tweak the interest of the reader while bearing little relationship to the facts of the actual printed story it heralds.

It was a story that chronicled the coming closure of four popular restaurants in the city of Seattle—a city that will soon experience a substantial rise in the minimum wage paid to restaurant workers…

Read the story at Forbes.com