minimum wage

Paid sick leave and a boost in the minimum wage are among the top priorities of organized labor in Washington state this year.

Labor activists from the group Working Washington surround eight protesters who have linked arms in a busy Bellevue intersection Sept. 9, 2014. They were protesting for a raise in the minimum wage.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Ross Reynolds talks with the president of Washington State Labor Council, Jeff Johnson, about his legislative priorities. We also hear from KUOW's Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about how proposals like mandatory paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage might fare in Olympia. 

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

Demonstrators in Seattle form a human chain around City Hall in support of a $15 minimum wage in April 2014.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle starts phasing in a higher minimum wage on April 1 this year. The key term here is "phasing in." Everyone receiving the minimum wage won’t immediately get $15 an hour.

KUOW’s Deborah Wang sat down with Ross Reynolds to explain.

Twenty states are raising their minimum wages today.

Employees who work for tips are often paid a much lower, tipped minimum wage. The federal government requires that this lower wage plus the tips received equal at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

But some states require employers to pay their tipped workers the full state minimum wage or a wage above the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13.

The minimum wage went up in 20 states Thursday, a day after the state of New York boosted its minimum, which means a majority of states now have a minimum wage higher than the federal government's, which is set at $7.25. The state with the highest minimum wage is now Washington state, at $9.47 an hour.

The new year will mean higher pay for low-wage workers in Oregon and Washington. The minimum wage in both states is set for an increase.

Demonstrators in Seattle form a human chain around City Hall in support of a $15 minimum wage in April 2014.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Ross Reynolds talks with Harold Meyerson,  journalist and editor of The American Prospect, about the future of organized labor and Seattle's $15 minimum wage movement.

Low-wage workers picketed and rallied across the country Thursday in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Fast-food workers rallied around the country Thursday, calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. But in suburban Detroit, a small but growing fast-casual burger and chicken chain has already figured out how to pay higher wages and still be profitable.

Facebook Photo/Save Bristol Bay

Jeannie Yandel talks to Alexandra Gutierrez, state government reporter for Alaska Public Radio, about some of the measures that passed in Alaska after the 2014 mid-term election.

Robert Reich at the University of Iowa, Sep. 7, 2011
Wikipedia Photo

Former Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich visited Seattle recently to encourage supporters of the 15Now campaign and to try to win over skeptics.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Marcie Sillman talks to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about his new Labor Standards Office and the city's  budget priorities.

Flickr Photo/victoriabernal (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich about whether Seattle's $15 an hour minimum wage will work in lessening economic inequality, and how Washington's tax system burdens the poor more than the rich.

Flickr Photo/Allison Waffles (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Should you be insulted when billionaires bigfoot an election? Do you resent apodment dwellers, tatted-up baristas, or the NFL for dismissing domestic violence? Plus, what do you think of the activists who want to take Seattle's $15 minimum wage cross the bridge?

Bill Radke reviews the week’s news with Crosscut's Knute Berger, C.R. Douglas of Q13 FOX News and KUOW's Deborah Wang. Special guests include Seattle Times sportswriter Percy Allen and LiveWire host Luke Burbank.

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