Seattle Moves Toward $15 Minimum Wage
Mayor unveils proposal headed to City Council
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2014 6:29 PM CDT
The city of Seattle aims to have a minimum wage of $15 in seven years.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Seattle might eventually have the highest minimum wage in the nation, by a mile. Mayor Ed Murray unveiled a proposal today that would raise it to $15 an hour in three to seven years, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Businesses would have different deadlines to comply, depending on their size and whether they offer benefits such as health insurance and tips, explains the Seattle Times. It's not a done deal: The plan still must be approved by the City Council, but Murray's proposal has cleared a panel made up of labor and business leaders.

"I think that this is an historic moment for the city of Seattle," said the mayor. "We're going to decrease the poverty rate." Businesses with more than 500 employees that don't offer health insurance would get the shortest turnaround time—they'd have to offer $15 an hour in three years. While fewer than 1% of Seattle businesses fall into that category, that still accounts for 30,000 workers, or one-third of the city's low-income employees. San Francisco currently has the nation's highest minimum wage at $10.55 an hour, notes AP. The move comes a day after Senate Republicans shot down a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.

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May 3, 2014 5:49 AM CDT
This is one of the major reasons why republicans should never be elected to legislative power. They screw the working poor to redistribute their labor wealth into the greedy hands of the rich-and-connected. Canada has a higher minimum wage than the US and not only did they come out of the 2007 recession quicker, but for the first time they have a more wealthy middle class than the US. The US minimum wage needs to be raised to a functional wage.
May 2, 2014 11:38 AM CDT
Lets establish a "maximum wage" to prevent the zillionairs from hoarding all the wealth.
May 2, 2014 10:44 AM CDT
Raising the minimum wage will not lift people out of poverty. It might make it seem that way, but when the lowest wages go up, other wages rise as well. You really think people who are making $15-20 now won't demand a raise? Do you think those people will stay at their current job if they don't get one? Costs will go up. At the end of the day no matter what you make the minimum wage, those people will be at the bottom of the pay scale, and will always struggle to get by. Raising minimum wage to bring people out of poverty is the same logic as giving everybody a million dollars, and saying they are rich.