Moment ago the Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to ultimately raise the minimum wage for most workers in Seattle to $15/hr (adjusting thereafter for inflation).
Kshama Sawant, a Socialist Alternative City Councilor and former Occupy Seattle member, was instrumental in making this happen. She wasn't able to get everything the she and the 15Now campaign demanded, but we have to consider what the sages Jagger and Richards had to say about that:
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
The minimum wage increase will not kick in until April, 2015, having been pushed back from January 1, 2015 (for no apparent reason other than spite), and then it will only start out at $11.00/hr for employees of big businesses (> 500 employees), $10.00/hr for small businesses (along with "guaranteed minimum compensation" - which includes tips and benefits - of $11.00/hr).
It goes up to $15.00/hr for big businesses which don't provide health care benefits in 2017, while only rising to $11.00/hr for small businesses ($13.00/hr guaranteed minimum compensation).
It goes up to $15.00/hr (in inflation-reduced dollars, more like $13.50) for small businesses in 2021.
Here is the entire, hideously complicated table (which many say is unenforceable, if it is ultimately comprehended).
Sawant and 15Now had demanded an immediate increase to $15/hr for big businesses, and a much shorter (three year) phase-in for small businesses. They also lost the battle against exceptions for teenagers, and against counting tips as part of "minimum compensation."
But what they won was enormous, if slow in coming. Wages will go up incrementally, but by 2021 minimum wage workers in Seattle will be making 50% more - $10,000 more - than they would have otherwise been making.
And this should light a fire under the already boisterous Fight For $15 movement. With this achievement, however flawed, they have increased the chances of significant wage hikes around the country for America's lowest paid workers.
From an interview with Nick Hanauer, "one of the architects of the $15 minimum wage"
There are 26 state- or city- based efforts to raise the minimum wage around the country. I think that the country will explode in the next six months to a year.So who's next?
There are rumors of other, nearby cities like Tacoma, Washington, thinking about enacting similar ordinances.
In November, 2014, it is all but certain that Oakland will be voting on (and passing) a minimum wage hike to $12.25/hr with no exceptions, exclusions or contingencies, and San Francisco may vote on an ordinance similar to Seattle's - but hopefully one that is a lot more straightforward.
What's happening in your town?
4:03 PM PT:
Victory party at city hall pic.twitter.com/fkou1Lmq8x
— 15 Now (@FifteenNow) June 2, 2014