Anti-$15 wage group Sustainable Wages Seattle emerges to fight Sawant

By KTTH | March 25, 2014

A new group composed of small business owners has popped up in Seattle to combat the growing $15 minimum wage push.

Sustainable Wages Seattle is a grassroots organization supported by Issaquah business owner Woody Hertzog. Hertzog says that the group exists because Seattle city government wasn’t hearing the anti-$15 minimum wage side’s voice.

Speaking to KTTH host Ben Shapiro Monday, Hertzog said that he fears for the hundreds of small businesses across Seattle that may lose valuable employees or go out of business totally if the $15 wage plan forwarded City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant becomes law.


“For some business owners, this will truly be devastating,” Hertzog said. “It’s specifically devastating for entrepreneurs starting up small businesses.”

The group is extremely new, and is still seeking partners to join the fight.

“We don’t want Seattle businesses to close their doors, or hinder expansion plans, if the 15 Now campaign is successful.  We know some will cut hours for their employees, or lay them off entirely, based on some news interviews and talking with other business owners,” reads the first post on the group’s blog.

“The people that want this increase would like the public to believe there is no evidence raising the minimum wage would cost jobs. The truth is a mountain of evidence exists that a high minimum wage does indeed cost jobs, especially for low skilled and younger workers.”

Speaking about a group of customer service representatives that he employs, Hertzog told Shapiro that he would have to lay one of them off if he was forced to pay them $15 per hour. Hertzog said he pays the workers 20 percent more than the industry standard at $12 per hour.

Hertzog could not give an exact number of businesses involved in the anti-$15 movement, but said that he’s received emails from all over the region, from small boutiques on Capitol Hill to restaurant owners.

“I feel like I’m being attacked from all sides. I can’t even believe the changes in the last couple of years, from the affordable care act … to now overtime wages, which is really going to cause me the most problem of anything that’s been proposed, and now this minimum wage push. It just feels like we’re getting attacked from all sides,” Hertzog said.

Sustainable Wages Seattle will host its first meeting on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at McCoy’s Firehouse, 173 S. Washington St. in Seattle.

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