Following the Seattle City Council approval of union-backed fair scheduling legislation, Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, a “self-described Marxist” faulted the findings of a city-commissioned study measuring the impact of a $15 minimum wage on the city’s labor market.
In the July update, University of Washington researchers, including several professors, found that the city’s minimum wage hike only had a “modest” impact on improving the lives of low-wage workers. According to their report, improvements came from the bustling region’s economy, not the wage hike. The researchers also found that the law was forcing businesses to cut back on hiring and reduce hours, while workers were observed to be moving to jobs outside the city. Additionally, the city’s wage hike forced a $5.22 drop in weekly earnings, with workers having their hours reduce and jobs eliminated in some cases.
The report’s findings haven’t sat well with anti-capitalist Sawant, who has made a $15 minimum wage the foundation of her socialist cause. She has expressed concern that the study’s early results will hinder her hopes of a nationwide $15 minimum wage. The Seattle Times reports:
In a letter addressed to Vigdor on Tuesday, Sawant questioned the study’s methodology and Vigdor’s objectivity. On the first issue, she attacked the “synthetic Seattle” statistical model that the UW team used to prepare the report.
The University of Washington researchers are not taking Sawant’s disparaging accusations lightly. On the same day that they received her letter challenging their study’s methodology, the research team hastily fired back its response:
The synthetic Seattle approach has been used before for minimum-wage research and is a good approach for various reasons, the team wrote. And besides, the July report had an appendix with the approach Sawant prefers.
“None of the conclusions reached in our report are contradicted” by the use of that alternate approach, the team’s letter said.
If Sawant had carefully read the entire report, she would have found that the researchers had used the exact approach that she had outlined in her letter. For a self-avowed Marxist like Sawant, it appears that she will stop at nothing, including bullying academia, in order to advance a nationwide $15 minimum wage.