Madison Fair Wage Campaign

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Will you sign the petition to institute a city minimum wage of 7.75/hr?

Poll ended at Wed Nov 05, 2003 7:46 pm

Workers of the world unite! YES, I'll sign it.
31
72%
Let them eat cake. NO, I'd rather yank Austin's hair.
12
28%
 
Total votes: 43

Donna Summer
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Postby Donna Summer » Sat Sep 27, 2003 12:26 pm

I have 2 jobs, one that pays minimum wage. If I got that raise, I can guarantee you it's not going to be wasted. With that extra $2.50 I'm not going to stash it away in a bank, I'm going to be spending it. I'm going to be buying food, clothes, books, etc.. The money is going to circulate which will help everyone in the city.

I'd rather see it statewide. The economy is screwing with people all over, not just here, we all need it.

You so often hear how so many businesses are paying above it so we don't need it. Great, then it really won't matter, will it?

Shifty
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Postby Shifty » Sat Sep 27, 2003 12:44 pm

Donald wrote:I'm not sure you've ever worked at a low-wage job. Low-wage places are often the most adversarial places to work, exactly because too many employers do not value their employees and their needs, and because there is no union representation. Many low-wage workers take the bullshit for as long as they can stand it, then they stand up for their own dignity and quit or are fired. You see, they do have an option, but there is less job security, far more job-hopping, more time unemployed, and far less financial security.


Fine, I'll take the bait just enough to silence you on the personal martydom bit. I bet I've worked more minimum wage jobs than you ever have, and...I'll leave it at that. For my part, I will continue to judge your arguments on their inherent validity and not on your claims to be down with the poor folks, claims that I find a trifle suspect.

For example, I know all about the increased job-hopping for low-wage folks. YOU want to make those folks dependent on their job not only for their wage, but their health insurance and who knows what else. Do you really think they'll have the change to pay the full premium COBRA when they lose their job or leave it? I'd prefer that they keep government insurance if they have it. Low-level workers are more in need of benefit continuity, and while you acknowledge the need and reality of job-hopping, you ignore that you are actually increasing the consequences of jobhopping by privatizing benefits. You want to decrease even the ability of the workers to leave a bad job situation!

And I never said that low-level workers like being treated badly or did nothing to express displeasure or resist. But quitting is hardly acting in an adversarial fashion. You are confusing "oppression" with "adversarial" Signing a petition and forcing the boss to pay a higher wage--now that adversarial, that's standing up to the man.


Donald wrote:The threat of dismissal is ever-present anyway, and the choices low-wage employees have are going to be minimal. So, I'm arguing for options that would allow a low-wage employee greater security. Here's something to ponder: you decide to stay home with your sick kid versus going to work at your $7.75 per hour job. Your employer fires you because he really needed you there that day and you didn't have sick leave option. That $7.75 doesn't help much when you're not getting any hours, does it?


Like you, Donald, I think a sick leave option is great. Let's legislate for paid sick leaves for all workers, and monitor the policies and compliance of companies that offer it.

Why don't YOU start a petition for this cause, after all you're the one claiming to know how to do petitions correctly. Why didn't you did it ten years ago, Mr. Adult?

But let's not force low wage workers to pay for a benefit that employers should provide anyway. And let's not force the workers to pay for that benefit out out of wages that the employers should be paying.

Obviously, you are siding with employers and trying to drive a division between low wage parents and low wage non parents who won't get the benefit. Divide and conquer, indeed.

And not much stops the employer from firing the worker taking a sick day. The harassment methods of employees who call in sick are pretty well known among those of us who have actually worked in bottom level jobs. Workers need more than just a policy on the books.


And please answer my questions about your proposal. So far, it sounds more like a pie-in-the-sky distraction than a real effot to address the needs of workers.

Shifty
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Postby Shifty » Sat Sep 27, 2003 1:05 pm

Yeah Henry, Doyle isn't the greatest proponent for low-level workers, but not much news there.

Yeah Blitz, Ceislewicz waffled but ended up in the right place on the issue after thinking it out. He's one of the few Democrats who has taken off his I'M STUPID T-shirt this week. It is hard to believe how badly the Dems played this one--shades of the IZ debate. Is the Democratic party really just an upper-middle class book club?

But the real surprise of the WiSJ article: how the hell did DEWAR get to be "spokesman for the petition campaign."

Nice comeback on the Balkans, though. Maybe you could have called Doyle "Arkan" to add a little spice.

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Postby snoqueen » Sat Sep 27, 2003 8:50 pm

safety blitz wrote:I'm amazed at how inconsistant the mayor has been on this:
. . . . in today's WSJ, we hear this: "Melanie Conklin said that Cieslewicz supported the basic proposal made by the Wage Campaign in Madison - including an hourly wage of around $7.75 - and would probably not try to introduce a competing proposal."

That's at least 3 different positions in one week!


I noticed too. Hey -- at least he has the courage to change his mind in public and to show he's listening to other people. And at least he came out in support (we think), and at least it only took a week not years. Better than nothing, I guess.

But why are people so afraid of this simple, clear and fair proposal? Are they that unsure of unintended economic side effects? (Donna Summer's remark that she'll put her extra $2.50 back into the local economy should put that to rest.) Are they afraid of the business lobby, which is noisy and has influence disproportionate to their numbers? Thinking things through over night or over several nights is sensible in public life, but this one should be pretty basic.

I'm waiting to see what Doyle does, and waiting to see whether the idea of "balkanizing" the state is a distraction or has substance. Doyle is more beholden to the business community than Cieslewicz. However, the employment rate in, say, Fairchild or Ladysmith is not the same as Madison, and in those places we don't have trophy mansions for local magnates popping up while regular people live in 30-year old mobile homes. The median income is much lower, and the economic base more uncertain, in some up-north and western counties. Is a different minimum wage appropriate, or not?

Madison needs to go ahead and show no fear :)

As far as my earlier proposal goes -- offering employees a menu of options in lieu of cash -- people can (and do) do this now! No need to write it into law. Some employers offer on site day care, some offer reduced price meals, some offer other choices. Moms take jobs at day care centers and get to bring their own kids along, people take jobs managing apartment complexes and get reduced rent ... happens all the time. It's a sign of flexibility given different employees' situations and the arrangements different employers can offer. I was just reinventing the wheel, which in this case is already rolling along on its own.

burstingsun
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Postby burstingsun » Sun Sep 28, 2003 6:09 pm

Donald wrote:
The way I read the food stamp guidelines, someone with one child and the new minimum wage would no longer be eligible for assistance. I'd say that was good, except that if the child gets sick and the parent has to miss work for a week, and there is no sick leave benefit, then we've got a parent who is struggling to figure out which bills to juggle. Again, maybe we ought to allow the low-income worker to select from a buffet of benefits, rather than just assuming we know what is best.



You are right about the food stamp guidelines, Donald. However, I propose that a family is still better off at a higher minimum wage.

First, food stamp benefits are based on actual, not potential, income. If a food stamp recipient works less one month, he or she reports this change and is compensated with a higher level of food stamps the next time the card is recharged.

Second, resources for food are far more available than resources for rent, utilities, etc. One can eat quite well using local food pantries. However, most rent assistance is on-time only. Utility assistance is only available to most families once a year unless there are extraordinary medical circumstances. Without adequate cash income, the family loses their home. A family can still attain the resources to eat without their food stamps, though. The parent will need the week off with his/her sick child whether making 7.75 or 5.15/hr. If one is making more money the rest of the month, it's a lot easier to afford the time off.

In theory, I like the idea of a menu of benefit options. However, how would the employer address the issue of reducing these benefits for an employee who has not worked all scheduled hours? It could get pretty sticky here for a family who can suddenly no longer afford their health insurance or daycare this month due to time off work.

I agree that benefits cost money, and therefore should be considered when figuring one's total salary package. However, when you are addressing wages that don't allow people to meet their basic needs, we need to start by raising wages. After that, we can tackle the issue of additional benefits.

Donald, I spend every day working with people who can't afford to meet their families' basic needs. They can't afford housing. They can't afford diapers. They can't afford over-the-counter medications for their children. They can't afford to keep their lights on. All of these are basic needs that can't be paid for with food stamps. These are real people with real families, many of whom are gainfully employed individuals who would benefit directly from an increased minimum wage. We need to pass this proposal for them and for their children.

Shifty
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Postby Shifty » Mon Sep 29, 2003 8:06 am

Well, the State Journal editorial staff adds a few more rhetorical tactics in the cause of anti-fairnessââ?‰?Â

wee beastie
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Postby wee beastie » Mon Sep 29, 2003 12:58 pm

I just wanted to convey my thanks to Shifty (whoever the fuck you are) for such a wonderful, articulate and comprehensive rebuttal.
Truly, thanks.

blaisebaileyfinnegan
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Postby blaisebaileyfinnegan » Mon Sep 29, 2003 1:38 pm

Yes, thank you very much Shifty for the dissection. I would like to talk more personally if you are interested, but since the private messaging here is disabled, leaving an email seems best. 8)

bbfiii at SPAMBOTS.GO.HOME.hotmail.com

just wanted to add that the media criticism aspect (which I love) is why I'd like to talk. If you are interested, it would probably be best for you to post a quick anon email of your own here too for me to write to, so we can be sure we are communicating with each other.
Last edited by blaisebaileyfinnegan on Mon Sep 29, 2003 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

beyonce knows
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Postby beyonce knows » Mon Sep 29, 2003 1:48 pm

blaise is looking for a date.

blaisebaileyfinnegan
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Postby blaisebaileyfinnegan » Mon Sep 29, 2003 2:06 pm

You got me beyonce. :wink:

Actually, it has something to do with reviving an old project.

http://atwoodsghost.blogspot.com

Donald
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Postby Donald » Mon Sep 29, 2003 3:58 pm

burstingsun wrote:...I agree that benefits cost money, and therefore should be considered when figuring one's total salary package. However, when you are addressing wages that don't allow people to meet their basic needs, we need to start by raising wages. After that, we can tackle the issue of additional benefits.

Donald, I spend every day working with people who can't afford to meet their families' basic needs. They can't afford housing. They can't afford diapers. They can't afford over-the-counter medications for their children. They can't afford to keep their lights on. All of these are basic needs that can't be paid for with food stamps. These are real people with real families, many of whom are gainfully employed individuals who would benefit directly from an increased minimum wage. We need to pass this proposal for them and for their children.


Well, thank you. You have convinced me. I would prefer to target the increase in some way to families that really need it, but you are probably right that we need to start by raising wages.

Paco
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Postby Paco » Mon Sep 29, 2003 5:15 pm

Shifty, why doncha write that up and send it to teh SJournal?

ShaneDog
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Postby ShaneDog » Tue Sep 30, 2003 10:28 am

The Wisconsin State Journal needs to realize that the constant repeating of something that sounds like it might be plausible ie. "If the minimum wage is raised, businesses will move out of Madison because it will be cheaper to operate out there and new business will be discouraged from locating here" doesn't make it fact. The fact is, that may happen on a micro-scale (at the edges of town) but on a macro-scale, for most service oriented businesses which is where the majority of these minimum wage jobs are, their location is determined by where their customers are and not the cost of labor. Plus, even if profits are decreased, as long as there is a profit to be made there will be a net influx of new business. Are they claiming that there will no longer be any profit to be made in the service industry in Madison after a minimum wage hike?

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Oops Perhaps big oops

Postby Jattpw » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:50 am

This is what happens when you try to beat the system.

Part of the plan was to have the minimum wage go to voters as part of the primary in February. Oops, that can't happen because it is not a general election. Of course no one really looked into this fact I guess.

So the referendum will be on the April ballot when County Board Supervisors are elected. The student district that votes liberal will turn out and vote for it. The conservatives in some of the outlying areas will turn out to vote against it. What this does is ruin the opportunity for liberals to pick up seats on the County Board.

Actually liberals will be fighting to hold seats in districts that they already have as this referendum brings out the conservative voters on the east and west side. There will be gobs of money put into getting out more conservative voters. And the new head of the Chamber of Commerce will lead the charge.

Way to screw up the County Board over an ordinance that affects a bunch of students and teen agers and a few that need it.

ShaneDog
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Re: Oops Perhaps big oops

Postby ShaneDog » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:56 am

Jattpw wrote:Way to screw up the County Board over an ordinance that affects a bunch of students and teen agers and a few that need it.


Yeah, what a bunch of worthless rabble. Who do these minimum wage hike supporters think they are advocating for students and teenagers and the few that need it.


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