US city council passes $15 minimum wage
SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Monday that gradually increases the minimum wage in the city to $15, which would make it the highest in the U.S.
The issue has dominated politics in the liberal municipality for months, and a boisterous crowd of mostly labor activists packed the Council chambers for the vote. Mayor Ed Murray, who was elected last year, had promised in his campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour
The measure, which would take effect on April 1, 2015, includes a phase-in of the wage increase over several years, with a slower process for small businesses. The plan gives businesses with more than 500 employees nationally at least three years to phase in the increase. Those providing health insurance will have four years to complete the move. Smaller organizations will be given seven years.
The International Franchise Association, a Washington, D.C.-based business group that represents franchise owners, said it plans to sue to stop the ordinance.
San Francisco currently has the nation’s highest hourly minimum wage at $10.74.
The current minimum wage in Washington state is $9.32 an hour.
Earlier this year Minnesota raised the state’s guaranteed wage by more than $3, to $9.50, by 2016. California, Connecticut and Maryland also have passed laws increasing their respective wages to $10 or more in coming years.