A recent proposal from the Seattle City Council to raise $75 million in taxes on the city’s largest employers has had some construction workers fed up at the prospect that they might lose out on a major construction project.
Workers from the Ironworkers Local 86 union descended upon a town hall Thursday for Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative Party, to voice their displeasure with the council’s proposed “head tax,” according to a video of the protest published Monday.
“No head tax!” the dozens of orange-vested construction workers yelled as Sawant tried to convince her supporters that such a tax would benefit the city.
The “head tax” would charge high-revenue businesses like Amazon a premium for employing so many workers to pay for social services that would benefit the city’s homeless population.
Sawant called the proposed tax “pocket change” for businesses like Amazon and claimed at a Wednesday council meeting the company could easily pay the tax increase.
The Seattle Times reported that all businesses based in Seattle that make at least $20 million a year would have to fork over 26 cents to the city for every hour an employee works.
But Amazon, sensing this change, put the brakes on plans to build a new high-rise construction project near the company headquarters pending the outcome of the council’s vote. If the tax were to be approved, Amazon would pay more than $20 million in additional taxes on its 45,000 employees in the Seattle area when it takes effect in 2019.
The tax would not only affect Amazon but workers involved in doing business for Amazon such as construction workers.
“To reduce the jobs only increases the possibility of additional homelessness,” said Chris McClain, the business manager for Ironworkers Local 86 who organized the demonstration.