Management & Labor

Seattle to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 -- Eventually

May 2, 2014
 

Seattle minimum-wage workers would be making $18 an hour in a decade — double the current wage — under a plan announced Thursday morning by Mayor Ed Murray.

The route is lengthy and complicated, and lacks the punch of “15 now,” but it has the support of almost all of the business and labor leaders on the mayor’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee and might head off competing ballot initiatives in November.

“Hopefully, on this day, we will take the first steps toward growing the middle class,” Murray said. “This is a historic moment for Seattle. It’s setting the standard for what a progressive city can do.”

It also was a victory for Murray, who formed the committee and announced the $15-minimum-wage goal before he took office in January. A week ago, the committee met for a final time without reaching an agreement and Murray stood in the spotlight of local and national media with nothing to announce.

A core group of negotiators kept working, though, and contacted committee members late Wednesday when they reached the deal.

The compromise plan calls for the city’s minimum wage to climb to $15 an hour, phased in over three to seven years depending on the size of business and whether workers receive tips or benefits in addition to salary. After that, the wage would be tied to the Consumer Price Index, with estimates showing it rising above $18 an hour by 2025. The current minimum wage is $9.32 per hour.

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