NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


  November 6, 2013

Seattle Suburb Passes Highest Minimum Wage in Country


David Rolf of SEIU helped organize SeaTac's Proposition 1 to provide $15/hour to hotel, restaurant, and airport workers.
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support the Real News because without The Real News we would have no real news at all. - WWH
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Known nationally as an innovative labor leader, David Rolf is the President of SEIU Healthcare 775NW, the fastest growing union the Northwest representing 43,000 home care and nursing home workers in Washington state and Montana. He also serves as an International Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, the international organization which represents more than 2.1 million workers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. 

Rolf, 43, has led some of the largest organizing efforts since the 1930s. He helped organize 75,000 care givers in Los Angles and started the homecare union in Washington. Rolf also helped to create the SEIU NW Healthcare Training Partnership and Health Benefits Trust.

He helped to spearhead inclusion of the State Balancing Incentive Program (BIPP) into the 2010 Affordable Care Act. BIPP incentivizes states to establish long-term care systems. 

In addition to his responsibilities with SEIU, Rolf also sits on other boards and steering committees for governmental advisory bodies, political action committees and non-profit organizations.

transcript

Seattle Suburb Passes Highest Minimum Wage in CountryJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

On November 5, voters from the Seattle suburb of SeaTac passed Proposition 1, which calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage for airport, hotel, and restaurant workers. That is the highest minimum wage in the US.

Joining us now is David Rolf. David is the SEIU international vice president and organized support for the passage of Proposition 1.

Thanks for joining us, David.

DAVID ROLF, PRESIDENT, SEIU HEALTHCARE 775NW: Thanks for having me.

DESVARIEUX: So, David, can you just give us sort of the back story? How did this come to be? How were you guys able to organize getting such a high minimum wage in SeaTac?

ROLF: Well, let's talk about the SeaTac economy for a second. These airport jobs, like baggage handlers, ramp workers, jet fuelers, concessionaires, these are jobs that paid $16, $18 an hour back in the 1970s and the 1980s. They used to be living-wage jobs. Even our local congressman Adam Smith recalls growing up in the home--his father was a baggage handler and was able to support a family and buy a home on a baggage handler's salary.

That's all changed. The major airlines outsourced those jobs and turned them into minimum-wage jobs, which impoverished a whole community. So SeaTac saw its grocery store become a Goodwill and its video store become a pawnshop because the impoverishment of those jobs hurt the whole community.

So when voters had a chance to qualify a ballot initiative and raise wages back up a little closer to where they were 20 or 30 years ago. Ultimately they said yes, and they gathered enough signatures to qualify Proposition 1 for the ballot. And then in the early returns they seemed to be passing Proposition 1 by about an eight-point margin. It was really their opportunity to say to CEOs and to Congress that they're impatient with waiting for them to do the right thing for American workers and it's time we took matters into our own hands.

DESVARIEUX: Now, let's get a sense of the impact of this vote. How many workers will actually be affected?

ROLF: There are about 6,000 workers, a little more than 6,000 workers who work at the airport and airport-related businesses like rental car companies, parking lots, and at the hospitality zone adjacent to the airport with the major hotels, but about 6,000 who work for about 70 different businesses.

DESVARIEUX: And do you think this vote in SeaTac will sort of increase the momentum elsewhere?

ROLF: Well, for sure it will. Ultimately what votes like this are about is whether the entire economy thrives and prospers or only the richest 1 percent. When you look at what's happened over the last 30 years, CEO pay has gone up 725 percent in this country. Eighty percent of all the economic gains have gone to the top 1 percent of income earners. And the bottom 90 percent has seen wages stagnate and real spending power decline vis-à-vis inflation.

So kind of mass impoverishment of wage work that we've seen all around the country, it I think is going to create many more situations that are ripe for this kind of campaign, where voters are going to lose patience with CEOs, bankers, Wall Street, and politicians and say it's time that we do this ourselves. I would expect that this may have been the first nationally significant campaign like this, but I really doubt it's going to be the last.

DESVARIEUX: Well, David, congratulations on your victory and thank you for joining us.

ROLF: Alright.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

'Recall Gov. Richard D. Snyder' Campaign in Michigan Gains Momentum
Supreme Court Just Made it Easier for the FBI to Hack Your Computer
The Real News of the Day - May 5, 2016
Glenn Greenwald: President's Impeachment Process in Brazil is a Trojan Horse for Neo-liberalism
Republican Mayors Opt for 100% Renewable
Detroit Begins Water Shutoffs for 20,000 Residents
The Real News of the Day - May 4, 2016
Is Sanders the Better Candidate to Defeat Trump?
Greenpeace Leaks Secret Pro-Corporate Trade Agreement
Indiana Primary: Trump Knocks Out Cruz & Sanders Upsets Clinton
Four Men Arrested for the Murder of Berta Caceres
Baltimore Election Under Intense Scrutiny
Spontaneous Protests in Baghdad Green Zone Show Cracks in the Security Apparatus
Detroit Teachers Shut Down Schools for Second Day Over Lack of Pay
Days of Revolt: The Assault of the Animal Agriculture Industry
The Real News of the Day - May 3, 2016
Chris Hedges: Activist Rev. Berrigan Targeted by Church Hierarchy
"Soft Coup" in Brazil is Destroying the Workers' Party and Social Programs
Before Freddie Gray, there was Tyrone West
Activists March Against Police Shooting of a 14-Year-Old in Baltimore
The Real News of the Day - May 2, 2016
A Global Roundup of May Day Marches and Protests
US and UK Arms Sales Fueling War Crimes in Yemen
If We Don't Get It Shut It Down!: Theatre as a voice of the people.
Sanders Supporters on Road to Insurrection in Democratic Party?
Jobless Economy and Citizenless Democracy (3/3)
Allegations of Anti-Semitism Fired up Ahead of Pivotal UK Local Elections
Jesse Jackson and Bernie Sanders: Comparing Two "Movement" Campaigns
Robert Scheer Talks With Eddie Conway About Making Real News After Prison
A Tale of Two Police Shootings

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting