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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor
NEWS ADVISORY
SUBJECT: Murray announces additional details on Income Inequality Symposium
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
3/24/2014  6:00:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jeff Reading  (206) 684-4000
Megan Coppersmith  (206) 233-8736


Murray announces additional details on Income Inequality Symposium
Two economic studies will help inform the debate, Mayor says

SEATTLE - Mayor Ed 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, MAP
Reception, Student Center
Cost: Free, open the public and media (registration required via website)
Refreshments provided.  Lunch $5.  Reception: no-host bar.
Web: www.iisymposiumseattle.com

At the Symposium, two studies commissioned by Income Inequality Advisory Committee will be presented. The studies, which are attached, 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.


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