Mayor Murray issues statement on work of Income Inequality Advisory Committee

Mayor Murray today issued the following statement on the work of the Income Inequality Advisory Committee:

“We launched a process in December to begin to address in a meaningful and thoughtful way what President Obama has referred to as the ‘issue of our time’: income inequality.

Understanding the strong public support for raising Seattle’s minimum wage, our process brought to the table representatives of the employer, labor, worker and non-profit communities to craft a solution in a manner that could address the unique needs of each.

I want to acknowledge the strong commitment and tremendous, good-faith effort of the committee members over these past several months. We are very, very close to a deal that all stakeholders can agree with, but we are still not there yet.

Tomorrow at 1:15 p.m., I am prepared to announce a plan for how we raise the minimum wage in this city. Standing with me, I hope, will be members of my Income Inequality Advisory Committee. And it is my hope that it will be all the members of my advisory committee.

We may reach an agreement by tomorrow, we may not. But in either case, we will get to a good, thoughtful, meaningful solution that reflects the input and concerns of all who will be affected – which has been the goal of this process all along.

At some point, the interest in the process yields to an interest in the final product – and tomorrow we reach that point.”

Missed today’s Income Inequality Symposium? Catch up via Storify

If you weren’t able to attend today’s Income Inequality Symposium, we’ve gathered a series of tweets from attendees to give you a sense of the discussion. You can also check out the #SeattleWage hashtag on Twitter for more.

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Murray announces additional details on Income Inequality Symposium

Mayor Murray, Seattle University and Local Progress are presenting a one-day conference addressing income inequality and the role of the minimum wage in Seattle. The conference will be held on March 27 at Seattle University. It is free, open to the public, and will feature panelists and experts from around the country, as well as local experts and stakeholders.

The Symposium is a critical component of the Mayor’s efforts to address a cornerstone priority of his opportunity agenda: a meaningful increase in the compensation for Seattle workers.  There are three primary goals for the Symposium:

  • Help inform ourselves of the rising income gap in our community and the complexities in addressing this issue,
  • Establish Seattle as a national leader in developing strategies to address income inequality, and
  • Serve as a model to catalyze a broader national movement to address the rising wealth gap in our country.

The Symposium is a part of the public engagement process being employed by the Income Inequality Advisory Committee which is charged with delivering to the Mayor a set of actionable recommendations to raising the minimum wage in Seattle by the end of April 2014.

What:         Income Inequality Symposium

When:        March 27, 2014, 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Reception to follow

Where:       Seattle University, Campion Ball Room, Reception to be held in the Student Center

Cost:          Free, open the public and media (registration required). Refreshments provided.  Lunch $5.  Reception: no-host bar.


At the Symposium, two studies commissioned by Income Inequality Advisory Committee will be presented. The studies, here and here, were conducted by Marieka Klawitter, Robert Plotnick, and Mark Long from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs; and Ken Jacobs, Michael Reich, and Annette Bernhardt from the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Increasing the minimum wage is one of the most important decisions I will make as Mayor, and this process involved gathering as much authoritative research and data as we could to inform this decision,” Murray said of the studies.

“We wanted to understand who the low-wage workers are in our community. The UW study tells us that women and people of color disproportionately represent Seattle’s low-wage workforce. It also tells us that raising the minimum wage could significantly reduce poverty in our community,” Murray said. “The Berkeley study helps us understand how minimum wage increases elsewhere impacted workers and businesses in their respective communities, as well as the lessons learned from those experiences. Their findings suggest that a thoughtful and balanced approach to increasing the minimum wage can meaningfully address income inequality, while maintaining a healthy and supportive environment for small businesses and non-profit organizations.”

Panelists and speakers include: Nick Hanauer; San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos; Philadelphia City Councilmember, Wilson Goode; Chicago Alders Roderick Sawyer, Toni Foulkes, and John Arena; Seattle Councilmembers Nick Licata, Bruce Harrell, and Kshama Sawant; Lori Pfingst, Center for Budget and Policy; Dorian Warren, Columbia University; Michael Reich and Ken Jacobs, UC Berkeley; Marieka Klawitter and Bob Plotnik, University of Washington; Jasmine Donovan, Dick’s; Saru Jayaman, ROCUnited; Dick Conway, Puget Sound Forecast; Maud Daudon, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Heather Boushey, Washington Center for Equitable Growth; Paul Sonn, National Employment Law Project, and other national and local experts, employers and stakeholders.