Today, Seattle City Council unanimously passed an ordinance, raising the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour for over 102,000 workers and their families. The Church Council of Greater Seattle celebrates the passing of this piece of legislation as an important step towards making a living wage vision more of a reality for many working people struggling to make ends meet.
The passing of the legislation is also a testament to the power of community organizing to bring important issues to table of local government and make tangible policy gains. It was just last year that the fast food workers went on strike, sparking the movement for a higher minimum wage.
As Michael Ramos, Executive Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle commented, “No one would have thought that in less than a year there would be $15/hour minimum wage laws in both Seattle and SeaTac.”
The minimum wage ordinance will take effect April 2015 and has a 4-tiered phase in. Big businesses (defined has having more than 500 employees) will reach $15/hour in 2-3 years and small businesses (less than 500 employees) will have 5-7 years. The difference in phase-in time varies based on whether the business offers any form healthcare to employees. By 2025, all employers in the city of Seattle will be paying employees $18.13/hour.
- Church Council Fact Sheet: Seattle $15 Minimum Wage Ordinance .
- Find a copy of the legislation here.
- University of Washington report: “Who Would be Affected by an Increase in Seattle’s Minimum Wage?” (March 2014)
News articles about the minimum wage ordinance:
- Seattle City Council: “Historic vote addresses income inequality”
- Seattle Times: “Seattle City Council Approves Historic $15 Minimum Wage”
- Yes! Magazine: “Seattle Wins $15 Minimum Wage”
- The Guardian: “$15 Figure Represents ‘Historic Victory’ for Workers”
- The New York Times: Opinion by Robert Reich “Overcoming the New Low-Wage Economy”