Seattle’s Path to Historic $15 Minimum Wage Starts With First Phase Increase Today

by Mitchell Hirsch

Fightfor$15The first phase of Seattle’s groundbreaking $15 minimum wage takes effect today, with large employers — and small employers where compensation does not include tips or health benefits — required to pay a minimum of $11 per hour for the rest of this year.  Other small employers are required to pay at least a $10 minimum wage.

Further increases will take effect at the start of next year and subsequent years, with the minimum wage for large employers – those with more than 500 employees — reaching $15 per hour in 2017.  The increases required of smaller employers will be phased in more slowly, but will hit $15 for many by 2019 and for all employers by 2021.

Seattle was the first major U.S. city to enact a $15 minimum wage, andvoters in San Francisco last year approved a new $15 minimum wage in that city.

Business groups tried to block implementation of the new wage law in Seattle, arguing that large fast-food chain restaurants shouldn’t be considered large employers, but a federal judge last month rejected their claims, clearing the way for the law to take effect starting April 1st.

Stories spread in the media about Seattle restaurants supposedly closing due to the prospect of higher minimum wage rates turned out to be fictional tales first concocted by a right-wing business-funded “think tank” with therestaurant owners themselves telling the Seattle Times that those stories were simply not true.

More than 100,000 workers in Seattle will see their hourly earnings rise over the course of the new law’s implementation.

We need more Seattles.  Indeed, the entire nation needs what Seattle has started.  #Fightfor15