minimum wage | KUOW News and Information

minimum wage

When you buy cheap, someone pays

Oct 12, 2017
Author Raj Patel said that, among other things, we don't pay enough for our food.
Flick Photo/Jo Ann Deasy (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7E5ZEP


Seattle (or Amazon-town, if you prefer) is ground zero for cheap things. Amazon has built a world-altering business out of discounting products online.

 

And author Raj Patel says that’s not a good thing.

Jenny Durkan, former U.S. attorney, is running for Seattle mayor this year. Consultant Cathy Allen said she and collegues have been trying to convince her for the last decade to run for office.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

If you see ads in print or online for Jenny Durkan, they may have been paid for by her own campaign — she's the top fundraiser in the race to be Seattle's next mayor.

Or the ads may be sponsored by an independent campaign, “People for Jenny Durkan,” with money from Seattle businesses. 

Workers and labor activists demonstrate outside the U.S. District Courthouse in support of the city's $15 an hour minimum wage
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Bill Radke talks to Paul Basken, science policy reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, about how we should consume news that reports on scientific research. 

Bill Radke speaks with Ben Casselman, chief economics writer at FiveThirtyEight.com, and Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant about the new minimum wage study from the University of Washington.

Casselman explains that the study found Seattle's minimum wage hike to $13 has led to hours cut and other issues that have hurt workers' earnings.

Sawant disagrees with the study, claiming there are methodological issues. She also argues for shifting the focus towards the inflated incomes of CEOs and other high-wage earners. 

Dave Meinert, owner of the 5 Point Cafe, supports Seattle's minimum wage hike but he has cut workers' hours.
KUOW Photos / David Hyde

A new report on Seattle's groundbreaking minimum wage law has bad news for some low-wage workers. Even though hourly wages are up, low-wage workers' earnings overall were flat in Seattle during an economic boom.  


Senator Patty Murray in the KUOW offices, Jan. 2016.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

A proposal for a federal $15 minimum wage was rolled out in Congress Thursday. Washington U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the bill.

Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, among other jurisdictions, have all decided on a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

Karam Maan says his Subway franchise has been hit hard by wage increases in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Thousands of Seattle workers got a raise on January 1 when the city's minimum wage increased to $15 per hour.

The raise is for people working at Seattle's companies with more than 500 employees worldwide.

Millions of U.S. workers will get a raise on New Year's Day, as more than a dozen states increase their minimum wage. That will include thousands of people across Washington.

The Great Recession ended 7 1/2 years ago, and job gains have been steady since, but greater demand for workers is only starting to increase pay.

The increases are still relatively modest, and the data are still mixed. In October, for example, the Labor Department reported average hourly earnings increased at a 2.8 percent rate — the highest since mid-2009, but wage growth slowed in November. A separate report this month showed the cost of labor — another measure of wage growth — increased especially during the spring of this year.

Small businesses outside Seattle are preparing for a higher minimum wage starting in January.

Voters approved an increase in the state minimum to $13.50 over four years.

Nicole Grant of the Martin Luther King Labor Council has a blackboard decorated with the initiatives and issues supported by the local labor movement.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Washington state has long had one of the highest minimum wages in the country. At $9.47, it is also one of the few minimum wages that can rise with the cost of living.

But then Seattle set a new bar for minimum wages. 


What does a booming Seattle mean for young people?

Oct 21, 2016
Downtown Seattle
Flickr Photo/Jeffrey Scott Will (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://www.flickr.com/photos/cactus22minus1/24611507186/

By definition, growing pains are the problems that are experienced as something grows larger or more successful -- and there's no doubt that Seattle has been experiencing that in recent years. But has this city really become more successful? And what do these changes mean for young people? 

Republican candidate Janice Huxford on the campaign trail.
KUOW Photos / David Hyde

A bump in the state minimum wage is on your fall ballot – Initiative 1433. It would raise the hourly wage $4 by the year 2020.

In one Snohomish County swing district, Republicans and Democrats are battling over that increase. And their struggle may help determine which party controls the state Legislature next year. 

There’s a lot of talk about “dark money” in politics these days. That’s money raised and spent by so-called “social welfare” organizations that don’t have to disclose their donors.

But sometimes these groups will reveal who’s giving them money -- if you ask.

Washington voters will likely decide in November whether to raise the state minimum wage and require employers to provide paid sick leave. Backers of the Raise Up Washington campaign say they will submit more than 360,000 signatures Wednesday -- virtually guaranteeing it a spot on the fall ballot.

Oregon employers have new guidance from the state on how much to pay their employees when the state's minimum wage goes up next month. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries released rules Wednesday meant to clear up one of the questions surrounding the legislatively-approved minimum wage hike.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant meets with reporters after the vote to phase-in a $15 minimum wage June 3, 2014.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle's $15 minimum wage law doesn't fully take effect until 2021, but a new report gives a glimpse of its impacts so far.

The City Council was briefed Monday on a study done through the University of Washington which shows 80 percent of employers questioned plan to comply with the law and raise their wages. But 11 out of 100 businesses plan to withdraw from Seattle and/or contract out their work.

Idaho cities, counties and local voters will not have the option to approve increases in the minimum wage in the absence of action at the state level. A legislative measure to block local minimum wage increases became law Tuesday.

It’s official: Oregon’s minimum wage will increase over the next six years after Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill Wednesday at a state Capitol ceremony. Brown called the measure her top priority for this year's legislative session.

One of the initiative campaigns to raise Oregon's minimum wage announced Monday that it's ending its signature-gathering efforts. But a separate campaign says it will keep trying to get an initiative on the November ballot.

Oregon lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a measure that will increase the state's minimum wage over the next six years. The vote in the Oregon House now sends the measure to the governor's desk.

A jet takes off from Sea-Tac airport.
Flickr Photo/Alan Turkus (CC BY 2.0)

Airport workers filed 14 class action lawsuits Wednesday, claiming wage theft against their employers.

They say they aren't being paid the $15 dollar minimum wage in SeaTac, which went into effect in 2014.

Their lawyers estimate the workers are owed, on average, $20,000 in back-pay and penalties.

Duncan Turner is the lead counsel on the lawsuits, filed in King County Superior Court.

He says that many of the plaintiffs are immigrants, and they work as baggage handlers, rental car staff, janitors, and plane refuelers at Sea-Tac Aiport.

Three states, three ways of addressing whether and how to raise the statewide minimum wage. In Oregon this coming Monday, the state House takes up a three-tiered wage increase that passed the state Senate last Thursday. In Washington state, activists are preparing to hit the streets for a statewide initiative. Meanwhile, Idaho lawmakers are mulling whether to block both a statewide and any possible local increases in the minimum wage.

A plan to hike Oregon's minimum wage is moving forward in the state legislature. The state Senate Thursday approved a measure that would increase the wage to as much as $14.75 per hour over the next six years.

Republicans in the Idaho and Washington legislatures want to block any more cities from going the path of Seattle and Tacoma in raising the minimum wage locally. In Boise Tuesday, a House committee introduced a state preemption bill.

A plan to hike Oregon's minimum wage is moving forward in the Oregon Legislature. A measure cleared a committee Friday and is headed for a vote on the Senate floor.

In Salem and Olympia, some lawmakers are looking for a middle way on raising the minimum wage. In both capitals, there's hope that a modest wage increase with business and labor support could head off or trump oncoming ballot measures.

Around the country Monday, hundreds of airport workers protested in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

From Newark, N.J., to Washington, D.C., to Chicago and Miami workers called for a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour.

In Newark, workers carried picket signs of Martin Luther King through the airport.

"If Dr. King were alive today, he would be standing alongside of us," said Kevin Brown, New Jersey's state director of the local service employees union, 32BJ SEIU.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced her support for a major hike in the state's minimum wage. Brown said she hopes her new proposal will encourage the backers of two initiative campaigns to lay down their signature-gathering pens.

Brown's proposal would raise the hourly minimum wage to $15.52 in the Portland metro area and $13.50 in the rest of the state. The increase would be phased in over the next six years.

No More Tipping At Tom Douglas Restaurants

Jan 14, 2016
Chef Tom Douglas
Flickr Photo/Ronald Woan (CC BY NC 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1USBvzb

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas about his plan to replace tipping with a wage raise and 20 percent service charge. The change will take place at Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen and The Carlile Room on Feb. 1.

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