The Washington Post

Seattle mayor says he struck a deal for a $15 minimum wage

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray discusses the proposal at a news conference last Thursday. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced plans Thursday to increase the minimum wage to $15 there, which would place it among of the highest in the nation.

The plan would give businesses with fewer than 500 employees seven years to comply and larger businesses three years. Further increases would be tied to inflation.

“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,” Murray said in a statement. “We have a deal that I believe accomplishes both goals.”

The plan has the support of 21 of the 24 members of an income inequality panel convened in December and whose members include employer, labor and nonprofit representatives. As recently as last week, talks to raise the wage appeared to be stuck.

“This has been a long process of give-and-take leading to an agreement that will help to narrow the income gap facing our middle class,” said Howard Wright, co-chair of the IIAC and CEO of the Seattle Hospitality Group in a statement.

By the time the $15 minimum wage kicks in for smaller employers in seven years, a minimum wage worker in Seattle will be making at least $4 more per hour — and $6,240 more per year — than similar workers elsewhere in the state, the mayor said in a statement.

Washington is home to the nation’s highest state minimum wage, at $9.32 an hour. As of April 8, 38 states had considered minimum wage bills in 2014, with 34 of them considering increases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota and West Virginia have passed increases. Hawaii is expected to join that list after legislators approved a future hike Tuesday to $10.10, the level President Obama has pushed for nationwide. Workers in several states will see minimum wages of at least $10 in several states within a few years.

States and cities have led the charge as federal legislation has languished. San Francisco started the year with a $10.74 minimum wage, while Sante Fe’s hit $10.66 on March 1. A $15 minimum wage went into effect for some workers on Jan. 1 in SeaTac, the small city that is home to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport.

The Seattle proposal must be passed by the City Council and will be heard by a council wage and inequality committee next Monday.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
GOP candidates react to Justice Scalia's death
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

March 6: Democratic debate

on CNN, in Flint, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.