TUKWILA, Wash. — A measure to raise the minimum wage in Tukwila received more than 82% of votes -- a wide margin that now puts the city among some of the highest starting pay rates in the nation.
"A strong and broad coalition came together to support this, including immigrant and refugee organizations, labor unions," Raise the Wage Tukwila organizer Katie Wilson said. "We had so many small businesses, the workers at the mall, and elected officials, councilmembers that supported this campaign, so we had this real coming together of the community in Tukwila around raising the minimum wage and I hope that can happen in more cities in the future."
The increase to about $18.99 starting in July 2023 puts Tukwila above Seattle's rate of $18.69 for 2023 and near Seatac's rate of $19.06 for 2023. In each case, yearly rates are dependent on cost of living measures, which differ slightly by municipality.
"Rising cost of living, gas, food, rent, everything is going up and I think we've seen over the past year or so, some companies have had to raise their wages just to get people in the door because there's a labor shortage, but I don't think we can be confident that situation is going to last," Wilson said. "If we head into a recession next year, it's very possible that again employers will just be paying the statewide minimum wage, and even now not all employers have increased their wages."
Tukwila, Seattle and Seatac's minimum wages stand significantly above the statewide minimum wage rate of $15.74. Other cities could choose to raise theirs through ballot initiatives or council action.