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Seattle council passes $15 minimum wage

Seattle To Raise Minimum Wage To $15 An Hour

By Donna Gordon Blankinship

SEATTLE (AP) - The Seattle City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Monday that gradually increases the minimum wage in the city to $15, which would make it the highest in the nation.

The issue has dominated politics in the liberal municipality for months. Mayor Ed Murray, who was elected last year, had promised in his campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A newly elected socialist City Council member had pushed the idea as well.

"This legislation sends a message heard around the world: Seattle wants to stop the race to the bottom in wages and that we deplore the growth in income inequality and the widening gap between the rich and the poor," Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said.

The measure, which would take effect on April 1, 2015, includes a phase-in of the wage increase over several years, with a slower process for small businesses. The plan gives businesses with more than 500 employees nationally at least three years to phase in the increase. Those providing health insurance will have four years to complete the move. Smaller organizations will be given seven years.

The plan includes a phase-in of the wage increase over several years, with a slower process for small businesses. The plan gives businesses with more than 500 employees nationally at least three years to phase in the increase. Those providing health insurance will have four years to complete the move. Smaller organizations will be given seven years.

The ordinance came from recommendations made by an advisory group of labor, business and nonprofit representatives convened by Murray. After more than four months of discussion, the group presented its plan last month. Last week the Council delayed implementation by the few months and approved a sub-minimum wage for teenagers, a provision opposed by labor representatives.

Although some local businesses have come out in support of the measure, a group of restaurant owners oppose it, saying it would force them to scuttle expansion plans, decrease hiring and possibly cut service hours.

Nick Musser, executive chef and general manager of the Icon Grill in downtown Seattle, doesn't think the wage credit for tips should phase out after 7 years and finds the differentiation between large and big companies irrelevant.

"The reality is that the larger companies are going to ratchet up their wages and we're going to have to play at that level anyway," said Musser, whose restaurant employs between 50 and 60 people, depending on the time of year. Most of them are paid minimum wage.

Ubah Aden, 40, a Seattle home health worker who says she now earns $10.95 an hour, is looking forward to the way a higher wage will help her support her three children. But she also likes the idea of Seattle setting an example for the rest of the nation.

"If this passes, then it will pave the way for other cities and states. I really think so" Aden said.

She said she and her three kids are living with her brother because she can't afford an apartment of her own even though she works full time. "This will make changes to myself and also a lot of other people in my shoes."

San Francisco currently has the nation's highest hourly minimum wage at $10.74.

The current minimum wage in Washington state is $9.32 an hour.

Earlier this year Minnesota raised the state's guaranteed wage by more than $3, to $9.50, by 2016. California, Connecticut and Maryland also have passed laws increasing their respective wages to $10 or more in coming years.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
dbs7641937 June 02 2014 at 8:01 PM

I can see a mad rush for bussinesses to push for more and more automation and operate with the very minimum of people in their workforce. I'll bet this decision will increase the robot population by the tons.

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12 replies
Escalonz June 02 2014 at 8:41 PM

Brainless liberals busily screwing things up by the numbers. Watch the results folks and judge for your self but it won't be pretty.

Flag Reply +81 rate up
13 replies
duckblos June 02 2014 at 10:11 PM

This just goes to show you how politicians prey on the poor and minorities to line their own pockets. They promise these groups of people everything they want to hear to get their votes, so they can have cushy jobs with all the benefits. Anyone with any business knowledge at knows, you cannot increase cost of goods sold by 30 to 40% and not make cuts or raise prices on cost of goods sold. God help us.

Flag Reply +69 rate up
3 replies
Jose June 02 2014 at 8:29 PM

If I was a Small Business owner in Seattle, I'll hire an MBA to write me a new business plan that includes a move out of the State of Washington altogether. Large businesses hopefully at the very least planning to move their Headquarters out of the State. If there are not, I would hope stock owners and stakeholders are putting pressure on the Board of Directors and CEOs to do so. Business is business, and the City of Seattle just proved itself to be the most anti-businesses local government in the nation.

Flag Reply +65 rate up
9 replies
vrmasto June 02 2014 at 9:04 PM

As a business owner, all I can say i would learn every way I could to hire less and have my staff do more. All laws like will do is drive up number of unemployed people. Yes those who manage to keep a job will earn more but it does not take a genius to see that 40 hours a week times $15 per hour for every employee means fewer people get hired. Also now every new hire starts with a salary in excess of 30K? (52 x 600= $31,200). So what kind of starting salary do I have to offer to all of the people higher up in the organization to get them interested and how do I not raise prices to pay for all of it plus the benefits? Good job Seattle. Glad I saw your town before you lost your minds.

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5 replies
DenaliMan June 02 2014 at 8:33 PM

Amazing. Glad i don't live there anymore. Do they really think the cost of goods and services won't go up?? Get real.

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5 replies
jsilman June 02 2014 at 9:09 PM

What everyone fails to realize is, yes there is a pay raise. However they seem to fail to consider that taxes will go up along with that: city, county, state and federal. And that is just the start, medicare and social security goes up as well. Depending on tax rates, that $5 an hour increase will be $3 if they are lucky. Then the other side of it. You wages no longer quality you for food stamps and other social programs. So what they are in fact doing is increasing the taxes collected and taking a percentage of people of the welfare rolls.

Flag Reply +44 rate up
13 replies
karen1j June 02 2014 at 11:35 PM

Businesses stuck doing business in that area will reduce the employees whenever possible. That means less people will be employed. As a business owner I wouldnt start up or buy a business in the Seattle area. This despite the fact that 2 of my 5 employees are above $15 an hour already and 2 others are close enough that they would be there well before the $15 was forced upon me. In addition with 7 years for a small business to reach paying $15 I am sure the 5th person I employ would be $15 or higher by that time. Even with all that I wouldnt do business in the Seattle area as they have gone off the deep end. I pay my workers well so like I said it would be minimal to no effect on me but it is absurd that starter jobs like those in fast food or small restaurants or retail stores should have to pay $15 per hour. I see even less customer service, even more self service check outs and longer lines and waits for just about everything. This will be an epic failure.

Flag Reply +34 rate up
1 reply
fncguy karen1j June 03 2014 at 1:29 AM

I don't have a problem with this as it doesn't affect my business. Employees have always made better than a living wage here. Maybe you consult someone like me to improve and/or repair your failing business. It's a one shot deal and you won't have to move. Word! JM ASCP

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2 replies
fncguy fncguy June 03 2014 at 1:30 AM

errata: "maybe you *could* consult" sorry, that's why proof readers , proof read. ;-)

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jedimajere fncguy June 03 2014 at 7:56 AM

You give good raises I guess? For instance, your current employees making less than $15 would get an increase when you hire a high schooler with no experience for the same minimum wage?

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William June 02 2014 at 9:04 PM

I think it's great....for businesses, that is. But not so much for anyone who isn't qualified, isn't educated or has some type of physical handicapp preventing them from working at a level which anyone paid $15 should work at. Now the business won't have to feel sorry for anyone who just want's a job to make ends meet. They will now have the ability and inclination to closely scrutinize every application, do background checks and make sure that their hourly investment is worth it. When those less qualified now will be without a job...I hope they rememember that the liberal entitlement mentality is why they now sit at home.

Flag Reply +24 rate up
4 replies
bigben219 June 02 2014 at 8:25 PM

I guess I wont visit there anytime soon!

Flag Reply +20 rate up
3 replies
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