Seattle Votes To Raise Minimum Wage To $15, The Highest In The Country
Seattle’s City Council has unanimously passed an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage in that city to $15 per hour over the course of several years. Starting April 1, 2015, the hourly wage will begin to rise, with small businesses being given up to seven years to bring pay up to the new level. Businesses with 500 or more employees will have three years to do so.
The International Franchise Association, which represents franchisees from Washington DC, says it will sue over this “unfair, discriminatory and a deliberate attempt to achieve a political agenda at the expense of small franchise business owners.” Many restaurants say they also oppose the move because it will press them to halt business growth efforts and hiring and cut hours.
The city’s new Mayor Ed Murray, who was elected last year, pulled together a panel of business, nonprofit and labor reps who recommended the change. It also had support from the Council’s socialist rep, Kshama Sawant (right), who has come to be known as the most powerful socialist in the country. She campaigned on this issue and championed it through its passage.
Washington state has the highest minimum wage in the country at $9.32 per hour. More than 100,000 workers are expected to benefit from the increase.