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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 2, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 40
Mayor hands out $1 million to support minimum wage law
Two LGBT groups get funding
Section One
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Mayor hands out $1 million to support minimum wage law
Two LGBT groups get funding

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Entre Hermanos and LGBTQ Allyship will get funding to do community outreach supporting Seattle's $15 per hour minimum wage law.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the recipients of $1 million in City money on September 30. The community groups receiving the money will be charged with doing outreach to their constituencies to educate workers about their rights under Seattle's Minimum Wage, Wage Theft, Paid Sick and Safe Time, and Job Assistance Ordinances.

The City's Office of Labor Standards selected 10 organizations to head up a series of 'community partnerships' to do the ground work necessary to make Seattle's new worker-friendly ordinances successful.

'These new community partnerships will help educate workers to ensure they understand their rights and receive the wages and benefits they deserve,' Murray said at the press conference announcing the grants.

'We focus our efforts on reaching immigrant and minority communities because they are most at risk for wage theft and other abuses, and may not be well served by traditional English-language news sources.'

Community outreach and education is necessary, the Mayor said, because enforcement of the ordinances is largely complaint-based, and workers must know their rights in order to bring valid complaints to the City. Employers will also be included in the community outreach programs so they will know what the City expects them to provide to employees.

Entre Hermanos will partner with Casa Latina and the Eritrean Association for outreach to Latino, East African, LGBT, and youth communities.

Allyship and other groups will partner with the Fair Work Center for work in the Asian Pacific Islander, Somali, African American, Latino, youth, and LGBT workers.

Their work will include door-to-door outreach, hosting community-based education events, developing training materials to educate workers and other organizations about Seattle's labor standards, and providing labor rights intake, counseling, and referral for workers experiencing labor standards violations.

Ninth Circuit approves minimum wage plan
In a related decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals approved Seattle's minimum wage plan, refusing a request by the International Franchise Association (IFA) to block a key part of the ordinance from going into effect. The IFA represents fast food franchise operations like McDonalds and Subway, which fought the minimum wage ordinance and now hope to derail it. They argue that franchise owners should be treated like small business people - who are allowed a much slower phase-in of the $15 per hour wage - rather than big businesses.

Mayor Murray and other $15 per hour supporters say that franchise owners get all the benefits of big businesses and should comply with the more rapid phase-in schedule expected of corporate giants.

The Ninth Circuit agreed, saying that the IFA was not likely to win its case on the merits.

'The panel held that the International Franchise Association did not show that it was likely to succeed on the merits or that a preliminary injunction was in the public interest,' said the ruling by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.

It is the second legal defeat for the franchise association. U.S. District Judge Richard Jones denied a similar request for an injunction earlier this year.

'Today's unanimous decision by the 9th Circuit is a victory for Seattle workers,' said Mayor Ed Murray. 'This year we've shown that higher wages benefit workers, their families and the local economy. Today's decision clears the way for Seattle's next raise to go into effect on January 1 [2016].'

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