Business

Seattle Minimum Wage Referendum Effort Fails

Forward Seattle, a group which represents local businesses in Seattle, announced Wednesday that they failed to collect enough signatures to subject the city’s $15 minimum wage to a November vote.

The group stated in a press release that they “didn’t qualify its referendum, falling 1,237 signatures short of the 16,510 required to compel the City Council to include minimum wage ordinance 124490 on this November, 2014 election ballot.”

Forward Seattle argues that the minimum wage increase was rushed through without proper debate and input from the public. Instead, they want the city to adopt a minimum wage that “raises the standard of living of the poorest workers” and “protects local, independent businesses, nonprofits, and all the citizens who rely on them” along with including “an airtight methodology of evaluation and enforcement,” according to their website.

The statement went on to urge supporters to lobby the local government, because “the City Council has the authority to include it on the ballot this November, 2014” despite the group not obtaining enough signatures.

Forward Seattle co-chair Angela Cough told The Daily Caller News Foundation “we’re not trying to repeal it” but instead “put the choice in front of the people of Seattle” through proper information and educational campaigns.

Cough explains that the ordinance that raised the minimum wage to $15 “was rushed through.”

“We tried to provide a unified voice between small businesses and non-profits,” Cough explains.

Forward Seattle has faced obstacles.

“People trying to physically block our signature gathering,” Cough claims. She cited Working Washington as one such group.

In response to the referendum not gathering enough signatures, Working Washington declared in a statement “support for the $15 minimum wage law is so strong in Seattle that once word got out to the public that Forward Seattle was using misleading tactics to try and repeal the minimum wage, signature gathering ground to a halt — even moving in reverse as hundreds of people formally withdrew their signatures from the referendum in the final hours.”

“Forward Seattle is not throwing in the towel; but has just thrown its hat into the ring. They are not done,” declared the press release by Seattle Forward.

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