Today Mayor Ed Murray announced the details of a plan to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. The raise would put Seattle at the highest minimum wage of any major city in the country.
“Seattle workers are getting a raise,” says Mayor Murray. “Throughout this process, I’ve had two goals: to get Seattle’s low-wage workers to $15-per-hour while also supporting our employers, and to avoid a costly battle at the ballot box between competing initiatives. We have a deal that I believe accomplishes both goals.”
Mayor Murray confirmed that 21 of 24 members of his Income Inequality Advisory Committee (IIAC) support the proposed plan to increase the minimum wage to $15. The group met in December with representatives from Seattle’s employer, labor, and non-profit communities to discuss the issue of income equality in Seattle.
Mayor Murray’s IIAC-supported plan would be implemented using the following framework:
- Small businesses (businesses with fewer than 500 employees) will reach a $15 per hour minimum wage in seven years.
- A temporary compensation responsibility of $15 per hour is to be met within the first five years.
- Large businesses (businesses with 500 or more employees, either in Seattle or nationally) will reach $15 per hour in three years.
- The wages of employees who receive health care benefits will reach $15 per hour in four years.
Previously, Mayor Murray announced the following guiding principles of the proposal while it is still in negotiations:
- Once $15 per hour is reached, future increases will be tied to the consumer price index.
- No industry, organization or class of employers is exempted from any provisions of the deal except as provided under state and federal law.
“When workers have less income, businesses have fewer customers and governments spend more on social services. With this announcement today, Seattle is leading the way toward a better economy and more robustly shared prosperity,” said David Rolf, co-chair of the IIAC and president of SEIU 775.
Councilmember Bruce Harrell echoed his support of today’s announcement. “This is an important step in addressing the opportunity gap for workers and families in our community, and still have a policy that supports the growth of all small businesses,” says Harrell.
The IIAC minimum wage proposal will be heard by the City Council’s Select Committee on Minimum Wage & Income Inequality on Monday, May 5th at 2:30 pm.
Click here to check out the list of members of Mayor Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee.