Finance

Narrow Victory in Seattle Ballot Measure for $15 Minimum Wage

November 27, 2013
 

A voter initiative to enact a $15 minimum wage for thousands of workers in a Seattle suburb that houses the region's main international airport won a narrow victory on Tuesday that proponents hailed as a signal moment in the nationwide fight for livable wages.

The measure mandates that some 6,300 workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and nearby hotels, car rental agencies and parking lots receive a minimum hourly wage more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Washington state's hourly minimum wage is already higher than any other U.S. state, and will rise by 13 cents to $9.32 an hour in January. The new wage in the city of SeaTac would be among the nation's highest, just below a $15.38 rate mandated for city workers and contractors in Sonoma, California.

Backers of the SeaTac wage ordinance see it as an opportunity to help local workers while encouraging other communities - particularly cities with progressive tendencies and smaller voting pools - to take similar action.

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