Minimum Wage in Seattle Might Soon Be $15 an Hour

Yesterday, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced that he has struck a deal that will allow that city to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, a jump of more than $4 an hour. The state of Washington has the highest minimum wage in the country, at $9.32 per hour.

Seattle 

(Photo Credit: .Bala/Flickr)

"Throughout this process, I've had two goals: to get Seattle's low-wage workers to $15-per-hour while also supporting our employers, and to avoid a costly battle at the ballot box between competing initiatives," said Murray in a statement. "We have a deal that I believe accomplishes both goals."

The Washington Post reports that 21 of 24 members of an income inequality panel are in favor of the plan. The panel convened in December to examine the possibility of raising the minimum wage, and comprises employers and labor leaders.

Talks stalled last week, with businesses pushing for a phased process and credits for benefits and labor advocates asking for an immediate increase for large businesses. At an assembly in March, some business owners said that any increase would come at the expense of benefits like health insurance coverage for part-time workers.

The current plan gives large businesses three years to comply with the increase, and smaller businesses seven years. The Washington Post reports that further increases will be tied to inflation.

Thirty-four states were considering increases to the state minimum wage as of April 8, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures. President Obama raised the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federal workers earlier this year; on Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked the president's proposal to extend the raise to all minimum-wage workers.

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