SEATTLE (May 2, 2014) — On May Day, Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan endorsed by both labor and business groups to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the coming years. It will increase at different speeds for businesses of different sizes, but all employers will have to meet the $15 minimum wage by the end of the decade and then it be automatically adjusted higher each year for inflation.
“Hopefully, on this day, we will take the first steps toward growing the middle class,” Murray said on Thursday. “This is a historic moment for Seattle. It’s setting the standard for what a progressive city can do.”
Get the details of the plan at the mayor’s website. Here are the reactions from several labor and community groups:
15 for Seattle (coalition of labor, small business and community groups supporting the $15 minimum wage) — “Seattle’s progressive leaders say they strongly support Mayor Murray’s $15/hour minimum wage plan as a big win for 100,000 people working for low wages in Seattle, all while boosting the local economy and giving smaller employers time to phase in higher wages.”
“We will no longer wait for CEOs or Congress to take action to address the income inequality and economic malaise that particularly plagues working women and people of color,” said Pramila Jayapal, former Executive Director of One America, an immigrant rights organization. “Seattle, and other cities across the country, are taking the lead to raise wages to match the rising cost of living, helping all families trying to achieve the American dream.”
Working Washington (organizers of fast-food strikes in Seattle and in other Washington cities) — “This is a $15 minimum wage plan that works for workers, and for the entire city… It’s an incredible accomplishment.”
“What matters most to me is my 4-year-old daughter, Canaela,” said Julia DePape, a Seattle McDonald’s worker with Working Washington. ”My dream is to give her the same opportunities as other children. For starters, I want to provide a stable home for her and I want to give her a space to call her own. Also, Canaela loves cats and dogs and probably any other animal she’d meet. I dream of taking her to the zoo for the first time because I can only imagine how her face would light up. With $15, I have a chance at that!”
UNITE HERE Local 8 (represents about 4,000 workers in the hospitality industries of Washington and Oregon) — “We congratulate and thank the Mayor for taking a bold stand for Seattle’s working families. However, important work remains in order to avoid unintended consequences to hotel workers’ family health care plans. That’s why Seattle hotel workers will ask the City Council for one important change to the proposed ordinance, ensuring they can protect their hard fought, high quality family health insurance.”
Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 — What does it mean for state employees? What happens in Seattle may guide what happens across the state and with other employers, including the state of Washington.