Back when Rodney Tom was complaining about the Seattle Sick Leave / Safe Leave and minimum wage laws, I thought it was horrible. If you’re a State Senator, you should at least ostensibly have the interests of the state in mind. And you know, he was promoting terrible policy. But at least I understand if you’re going to try to argue that the Eastside is better than Seattle, you’re going to have to argue with what you have. So claim East King County’s bad labor laws compared to Seattle are an advantage for business, sure if that’s your thing. But if you represent a city that just passed a sick leave / safe leave law, embrace it.
Not so much with Senator Baumgartner. He has prioritized pushing against his own constituents’ being able to take off if they’re sick or having an emergency!
Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner introduced Tuesday what he’s calling the “Seattle quarantine” bill, which would prevent city councils across the state from placing new worker rules on businesses. As currently written, it would void laws already such as the family and medical leave ordinance which the Spokane Council passed Monday over Mayor David Condon’s veto but Baumgartner conceded Tuesday existing laws would likely have to be grandfathered in later discussions.
You know quarantine. When you force sick people to go to work lest they risk being fired. Quarantine. It’s also an admission that his side can’t win on ideas qua ideas. Can’t have his constituents seeing what good is happening in Seattle.
Quarantine Spokane from Seattle. When Spokane people elect leaders running on a platform of workplace rules like this, and those same people enact that agenda. That’s why they need to be quarantined.
Also, the bill would stop Seattle the same as anywhere else. And if places are grandfathered in, Seattle is still prevented from doing future workplace stuff. So quarantine doesn’t work to describe the thing it’s meant to describe even close to correctly. And don’t get me started on how quarantines generally are supposed to be temporary. All around, solid metaphoring.
“The goal of the bill is not to gut what’s already been done, it’s to prevent future damage,” he said.
Damage like a decent minimum wage and a bit of sick leave or safe leave. That’s damage. Damage of local elected officials saying the minimum set out by the state can be improved on. Is damage.
Baumgartner referred to the Spokane Council as a “mini Me” to the Seattle council, where the minimum wage is being raised to $15 an hour in phases over the next two to five years. “The state cannot afford to have labor laws made city by city by liberal city officials chasing progressive fads,” he said.
Excellent reference. I’m sure all the kids today are making Austin Powers jokes. Or not even jokes so much as half-assed mentions of a character who only appears in the sequels. I’m sure Baumgartner is fun at parties. He probably quotes Monty Python, blurting it — and other ancient pop culture ephemera — out at inappropriate times. I bet this has happened at at least one of his fundraisers:
“This music is kind of loud.”
“Well it goes to 11.”
“Oh, I wasn’t expecting you to make a horribly dated reference for no reason.”
“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”
“Running away, eh? You yellow bastards!”
“There’s only one of me and you already made a Monty Python reference. Now I’m leaving for real.”
“Come back here and take what’s coming to ya! I’ll bite your legs off!”
It’s possible I’m reading too much into that Mini-Me thing and have lost the thread. So… back to the larger point. Spokane made a choice. For the record, one that this Seattle resident approves of whole hog. But it was ultimately Spokane elected officials who ran on a platform enacting that platform.
The only way that Seattle had something to do with it is how our (and Sea-Tac’s) example worked so far. If we had become the horrible shit hole that minimum wage opponents claim, we wouldn’t be an example. Also, we, and Spokane can reverse course. If this $15 minimum wage thing doesn’t work out, elected officials can change it. If opponents of the sick leave / safe leave law don’t like it, and can elect people who’ll repeal it, it’ll get repealed. But so far, advocates of these sorts of laws that have generally been reelected, and when they haven’t been, it’s for other reasons.
Rather than quarantine yourself from a large part of the state — one with outsized economic and cultural influence — you can embrace it. We’re doing great things, and in many ways it’s transferable to the rest of the state. I guess, if your economic ideas are more dated than your movie references, maybe Seattle is a problem. But if you actually look at what’s happening with the $15 minimum wage and the sick leave / safe leave laws, you can see why other places might want to imitate it.