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Local$15 minimum wage

September 16, 2014

On June 1, 2014 the city of Seattle passed the $15 an hour minimum wage ordinance. Many people cheered the news, especially labor unions and workers. However, business owners are concerned about the sharp increase of employee wages from $9.32 an hour to $15.00.

To allow businesses to adjust to the new minimum wage, the ordinance calls for a phase-in period. Starting from April 1, 2015, businesses that employ 500 workers or more nationally, such as Burger King or Subway, have three or four years to raise the minimum wage to $15. Small local businesses will have seven years to raise the rate.

However, franchise owners think that this phase-in period is unfair, so they are suing the city. Owners of franchises pay a lot of money to buy a license that allows them to use the products and trademark of successful businesses, such as McDonalds. However, these franchises usually employ 20-30 people, not 500. They feel that they are really small businesses even though they have a connection to a large national organization with many employees. They want the same phase-in period as small independent or family-owned businesses have. About 19,000 people work in Seattle franchises.

Another challenge to the law is coming from Forward Seattle. These businesses have collected 20,000 signatures from Seattle residents. These signatures will allow the people of Seattle to vote in November to repeal (stop) the ordinance that raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Contributions by Sam (Guozhong) Wong, Phil Qu, Maria Montenegro

Published September 2014

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Comments (4)


  1. Soyoung Chung says:

    I saw a demonstration in downtown Bellevue about this topic. I just watched the people,but I didn’t know what they were talking about. Now I became to know what the situations are like. I think this is a very complicated issue because everyone whether they’re employers or employees don’t want disadvantages related to their money.

  2. Claire says:

    Hi Editor,

    I like this article because this is really a good news for workers. I think the workers especially who work in fast food shops deserve the minimum wage of $ 15 an hour.


  3. Nali says:

    I think this is good news for most employees who working for some business or have a lot of experiences in their work already. but this is not good news for some people who don’t have job or don’t have any work experiences, because I think most of boss want to hire someone who already work experienced.

  4. ziru.tan says:

    That is what I expect for.I am waiting for.

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