Seattle will raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour, the highest in the nation, under a deal just announced by labor and business groups and reported on by Think Progress.
All employers will have to meet the $15 minimum wage by the end of the decade, while businesses with more than 500 employees will have a three-year phase-in period.
After reaching $15 per hour, the city’s minimum wage will rise 2.4% each year regardless of the rate of inflation.
Congratulations to all the members of the Seattle minimum wage coalition for their leadership, including Keystone Washington state's progressive think tank, the Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI). (In the late 1990s, EOI co-founded with KRC and several other national and state groups Economic Analysis Research Network.) Back in 1998, EOI was was a key player in raising and indexing to inflation the Washington state minimum wage, currently the highest state minimum wage at $9.32 per hour. In the current Seattle push, EOI provided data and communications to support the coalition.
Think Progress rightly highlighted the approval from restaurant owners of the Seattle deal, whill will eliminate the separate lower minimum hourly pay rates for tipped workers over a period of five years. The votes for the deal also included local hotel owners and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer.
There are 102,000 workers in Seattle currently earning less than $15 an hour. Raising those people’s wages will put about half a billion extra dollars of spending money into Seattle workers’ pockets.