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minimum wage

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.

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