SEATTLE – A Seattle City Council committee voted Thursday to delay the start of Mayor Ed Murray’s plan that would eventually boost the minimum wage in the city to $15 per hour.
A standing-room only crowd in the city council chambers booed as the committee voted 4-to-3 to change the start date from January 1 to April 1. Committe chair Sally Clark wants to allow the extra time for outreach and education to local businesses.
Mayor Murray’s plan calls for phasing in the increase over three years for large businesses and seven years for small businesses.
Councilmember Kshama Sawant introduced an amendment to make the minimum wage increase begin sooner for large businesses – those with over 500 employees. That amendment was struck down by the council 6-to-1.
The vote was met with another chorus of boos in the crowd. At that point, Clark threatened to have people removed from the room.
Another proposal introduced by Sawant would remove tips from calculation of minimum wage compensation. That amendment was also voted down, 6-to-1.
The sound of boos again filled the air.
Sawant’s Socialist Alternative Party is collecting signatures for a November ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage to $15 on January 1.
The Committee on the Minimum Wage and Income Inequality consists of all nine city councilmembers, but only seven voted Thursday. The full council vote is expected Monday.
KING 5's Chris Daniels and Jake Whittenberg contributed to this report