On April 24, 2014, Seattle mayor Ed Murray continued Seattle’s progressive legislative trend by announcing his proposal for a $15 per hour minimum wage. The proposal is expected to be phased in over a period of seven years. Murray first expressed interest in proposing a $15 minimum wage during his campaign in 2013. Since then, Seattle City Council member Kashama Sawant, with the support of a group know as 15 Now, has led the campaign for a $15 minimum wage.
Under Murray’s proposal, businesses with over 500 employees will have three years to implement the wage increase. Smaller businesses and businesses that offer insurance would have a longer phase in period but ultimately all business in Seattle will have a $15 minimum wage by no later than 2025. Murray‘s proposal has been met with both praise and criticism from businesses and members of 15 Now. Councilwoman Sawant credited Murray’s proposal as being a step in the right direction but in a meeting after Murray’s announcement, she expressed her dissatisfaction.
For many, 2025 is too long to wait for the $15 wage. Currently, 15 Now is gathering signatures for a charter amendment that will be voted on in November if Murray rejects the counter proposal.
The amendment counters Murray’s plan by opposing big-business phase in. It also proposes smaller business be granted a three year phase in period rather than a 4-5 year phase in period outlined by the mayor. If the amendment is adopted, Seattle could see $15 wage by as early as January 2015.