TACOMA — Raise Up Tacoma, a group of workers’ advocates, business owners, faith groups and community supporters who support raising the minimum wage in the City of Tacoma, will rally Tuesday, June 30 at 3:30 p.m. at Theater on the Square, 916 Broadway. After the rally, participants will march to the Tacoma Municipal Building to attend the Tacoma City Council meeting that starts at 5 p.m. to urge the Council to adopt the most progressive ordinance possible to raise the minimum wage for the hard-working people of Tacoma.
After 15 Now Tacoma collected enough signatures to put a measure on the fall ballot to immediately raise the minimum wage to $15, Mayor Marilyn Strickland convened a 15-member Minimum Wage Task Force to recommend an alternative proposal that would phase in such an increase.
Last Thursday, a 9-6 majority of that task force voted to recommend increasing the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour for large businesses of more than 150 employees by 2020 and for all employers by 2025. The six business representatives on the task force who voted “no,” authored a minority report that would raise the minimum wage for all businesses to $12 by 2019.
The current state minimum wage of $9.47 an hour is adjusted each year for inflation. Since 2010, it has increased 92 cents, or an average of 18.4 cents per year. If the national inflation rate remains comparable over the next five years, the state minimum wage will be close to $10.50 per hour by 2020. The City of Seattle’s ordinance will increase that city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021.
Task-force member Brenda Wiest, legislative affairs coordinator with Teamsters Local 117, told the News Tribune that the group worked hard to achieve a compromise. She said members representing nonprofit organizations were worried that the 15 Now measure’s immediate increase to $15 on Jan. 1, 2016 would harm those groups:
A lot of them are on grant cycles (that can start in the middle of the year). Having that immediate increase could make it really difficult for them to maintain services.