Seattle City Council unanimously approves $15 minimum wage plan

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The audience in Seattle City Hall erupts in cheers when City Council votes 9-0 Monday to approve raising minimum wage to $15 an hour. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

SEATTLE — By a 9-0 vote, the Seattle City Council on Monday approved a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making Seattle the first major city in America to take such an action.

Beginning April 1, 2015, the legislation will phase-in a $15 per hour minimum wage annually over 3 to 7 years, depending on employer size.

The International Franchise Association immediately announced it would file a lawsuit to block what it calls an “unfair” and “discriminatory” plan that would harm franchisees — those who own a local Subway or McDonald’s but are considered a big business under the plan.

Just before the City Council vote, Sally Clark, chairwoman of the City Council’s Select Committee on the Minimum Wage, said, “Today we answer President Obama’s call and the moral call to address the plight of low wage workers. Seattle’s new law puts low wage workers on a path to $15 and does it in a way that respects Seattle’s love for local businesses and world-leading innovation.”

Mayor Ed Murray applauded the City Council vote and added, “Some have called what we have done a radical experiment. I disagree. The real radical experiment has been the economic policy of the last 34 years that has dismantled our middle class.

“Today,” he said, “we have taken bold action to begin to reverse that radical trend. Today we have taken action that will serve as a model for the rest of the nation to follow.”

Murray signed the bill Tuesday in the courtyard outside the Cal Anderson Park shelter house.

Twenty-four percent of Seattle workers earn hourly wages of $15 per hour or less, and approximately 13.6 percent of the Seattle community lives below the federal poverty level, according to a University of Washington study.

Washington state’s minimum wage is currently $9.32 per hour.  Effective April 1, 2015, the minimum wage in Seattle will be $10.00 or $11.00 per hour, depending on employer size.  A chart illustrating the subsequent annual minimum wage increase based on employer size is available here.

“With inaction at the state and national levels, it’s time for cities to demonstrate bold and necessary leadership to address income inequality,” City Council President Tim Burgess said. “Seattle has found a workable and careful compromise that recognizes both the harm caused by stagnant wages and the harm to local businesses should we move forward too quickly.”

Socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, said, “We forced the city establishment to lift the wages of 100,000 low wage workers in Seattle – to transfer $3 billion from business to workers at the bottom of the wage scale over the next 10 years. We did this. Workers did this.

“Today’s first victory for 15 will inspire people all over the nation,” she said.

Mayor Ed Murray forwarded a proposal to the City Council after it had been developed by a stakeholder group, which included representatives of Seattle’s business, labor and non–profit communities and three members of the City Council.

A council committee amended the proposal later to include a sub wage for workers under 18 and for those in training or apprentice programs.

Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association (IFA) released the statement below following the passage of the bill.

“The Seattle City Council and Mayor Murray’s plan would force the 600 franchisees in Seattle, which own 1,700 franchise locations employing 19,000 workers, to adopt the full $15 minimum wage in 3 years, while most other small business owners would have seven years to adopt the $15 wage. These hundreds of franchise small business owners are being punished simply because they chose to operate as franchisees. Decades of legal precedent have held that franchise businesses are independently owned businesses and are not operated by the brand’s corporate headquarters.

“The City Council’s action today is unfair, discriminatory and a deliberate attempt to achieve a political agenda at the expense of small franchise business owners. By picking winners and losers among Seattle businesses, this policy flies in the face of all legal precedent and defies common sense.

“IFA has no choice but to file a legal challenge against the city of Seattle for this action. The suit will seek to overturn the unfair and discriminatory minimum wage plan that was approved by the City Council. IFA will fight to preserve the tenets of the franchise model, which has helped hundreds of thousands of people enjoy business ownership and created economic opportunity for many.”

If approved, big businesses will have three years to phase in the increase. Smaller businesses will get five to seven years.

The plan will also allow lower wages for teenage workers and trainees.


Minimum wage



Rob Mackay June 2, 20144:01 PM
Rob Mackay June 2, 20143:41 PM
Travis Mayfield June 2, 20142:53 PM
Travis Mayfield June 2, 20142:53 PM
Travis Mayfield June 2, 20142:53 PM
Travis Mayfield June 2, 20142:52 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


  • ᙓᔕᙅO

    The small business owners might as well move away soon or close shop. No sense in struggling to stay afloat against the big dogs down the road.

      • ᙓᔕᙅO

        People shopping elsewhere to get things cheaper, it will be worth the drive out of town to avoid the price hikes on products and services. That's what I'm talking about.

  • Mary

    I went to a mcdonalds on Saturday and my order was all wrong from order taker to packer. These not, very bright people,who are stealing jobs from our teens do not deserve $15 an hour. There are a lot of people doing more difficult and more intellectual jobs that aren't making $15 an hour. A big NO to this wage.

    • Ted

      “These not, very bright people….? I think you would be fired, if you even managed to get a job at Micky D’s. You have no concern for people in general…@Mary

      • The Clam

        the truth about the quality of their employees has nothing to do with Mary's occupational success rate. The McD's type jobs are on their way out anyway. Touch screen ordering is on the brink of replacing those employees. at that point, our unemployment rate and homeless rate will skyrocket.

  • Ryan

    They need to make the oil companies lower the price of fuel then everything else will go down in price. Then people could afford to live.

    • Ted

      Damn @Ryan, you’re right… we, as a country, have more oil and gas reserves than any time in history, yet prices hover around $4.00…

  • Disgusted

    Might as well raise the minimum wage to $30 per hour as far as I am concerned, it won't affect me because I will not spend another dime in Seattle. I refuse to help this city with its anti-business attitude any longer. Get a stronger work ethic and the money will follow.

    • Ted

      Yes,…this is all about you….@Disgusted. If you don’t want to spend money in Seattle, then don’t, nobody will notice…

  • Needs over Wants

    Time for bosses to finally respect hard workers and fire all the worthless @ss kissers. If you won't get on the ball you need to go.

  • Don

    My question is simple: If raising the minimum wage worked, don't you think it would have done so by now? Since I started working, the minimum wage has gone up many times, and with each raise of the wage, the surrounding prices have risen faster, as will they now. And what happens when the minimum goes up and the median stays the same? The gap between rich and poor grows even wider, with the rich gaining more on each sale as the gap between the poor and middle class gets smaller. The wage is low because the value of the work is low, requiring little education, little experience and no real loyalty. These jobs are meant to be summer or temporary jobs for teenagers or those only needing part-time work. You have just sullied the effort put forth by those who worked so hard to leave that life style to better themselves, and rewarded those without the motivation to do so…….pitiful.

    • Ted

      This is where the bullshit gets deep. First of all, experience and loyally are rewarded with higher rank, higher wage, and perks. Yes, at McDonald’s, just like any other business. Do you really think Micky D’s business model was to create a high turn over rate, of employees? These jobs were not ‘created’ as a place to start. Anymore than reading an address and delivering it is hard, but postal workers get a fair wage. These jobs may be a summer job to you but many actually want to succeed in that industry. And they wouldn’t have to “work so hard” to leave that life if they had a fair wage….

      • The Clam

        but that is the real argument. should people earn opportunity or should it be given to them? its pretty clear where you stand. on the lazy side.

        • Ted

          Just because you say ‘this is the real argument ‘ doesn’t make it so . The real argument is a fair wage. Pure and simple, even if I am lazy its not about me.

  • Jared Fleming

    Can the council define minimum wage. Its a job that gets you by. Something to make you work harder to find a better job, not to make a living out of it. Its not fair to companies. It will hurt the economy, and make more people lose jobs as well. Plus look at the military, why dont they make more money. Everyone else will make more money that people in the military, which is sad

    • Ted II

      Define minimum wage,….a job? This says it all, @Jared. You have been taught, like me, that these are shitty jobs and should get shitty pay. But we were taught wrong. Our parents were trying to motivate us, but it created a sub culture of hate for these kinds of jobs. As for the men in the military, yes they should be paid a hell of a lot more…..

  • Ted

    Maybe this will make people in this state realize that democrats have been in control of this state for far too long. This is the kind of nonsense bs they do. It feels good and busy votes so let's do it. It's popular so let's go for it. That's their mentality. People just blindly follow democrats because it seems like the cool thing to do. Wake up!

  • The_Bank

    Enjoy it for now, the rich elite will come back with a vengeance and put your hopes & chances out like a cigarette.

  • Ron Lowatchie

    So low level entry workers will be making the same as say Bank workers and others that spent maybe 15years of skilled labor to reach that point ? Shame !,Seattle is already a mess of people , thousands more will move into there for extra hourly money ,your roads won t Handel them !the rest of Washington would be better off without you ! For sure sad !

  • Common Sense?

    People need to get it together. Why did I go to school? So that I could work my butt off as a single mom to make minimum wage? This is the next dumbest thing Seattle has done – next to Bertha – and that stupid woman who keeps going on about this will improve the economy needs to shut her mouth. Obviously her education came from a cracker jack box too.

    • Ted

      Common Sense? …how ironic,…. if its all ‘dumb and stupid’, why do you feel the need to educate the masses with your words of wisdom? It’s obvious they won’t get it?…..