Seattle City Council Approves $15 Minimum Wage, Highest in Country

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The Seattle City Council voted to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, making it the latest in a growing trend of cities and states raising workers’ wages.

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, making the Emerald City’s minimum wage the highest in the country.

The new plan, which will phase in over seven years, would give workers a 61 percent increase over the current state minimum wage. The wage also will be tied to inflation, which means by 2025, the lowest-wage workers in Seattle will likely see their salaries double.

The first wage increases will go into effect starting April 1, when employees at companies with more than 500 workers will be bumped to $11 an hour from the current state minimum of $9.32 an hour. Deadlines for other businesses vary based on the size of the company, whether or not they currently offer health care and whether or not they have tipped employees.

“Today’s vote in Seattle will go down in history as a milestone in the struggle to raise wages and ensure fair pay for all workers,” said AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka. “It is proof that when working people organize and make their voices heard, we all benefit.”

Seattle is the latest in a growing trend of cities or states raising workers’ wages, while Republicans in Congress stall any attempts to raise the minimum wage at the federal level.