TUKWILA, Wash. — Tukwila voters will decide in November on a measure that would raise the city's minimum wage to more than $17/hour, in line with those set for neighboring Seattle and SeaTac.
Currently, the statewide minimum wage is set at $14.49/hour, while the Seattle minimum wage stands at $17.27/hour and the wage for SeaTac is set at $17.54 for hospitality and transportation workers.
"People are really struggling here right now so we thought it made sense to raise the minimum wage to match those neighboring cities," Raise the Wage Tukwila Campaign Coordinator and Transit Riders Union General Secretary Katie Wilson said.
Campaigners with Raise the Wage Tukwila secured enough signatures to put the measure on the November ballot. If approved, the requirement would take effect by July of 2023 for businesses with 500 or more employers. Mid-size businesses would be required to gradually increase over three years, while small employers with 15 or fewer employees would be exempt.
"The statewide minimum wage is not high enough, Seattle and Seatac's are a little more commensurate with the cost of living in this King County region," Wilson said. "Also, we're seeing a situation where rents are rising astronomically and that's not always measured in that inflation number."
Canvassers door-knocked in support of the measure on Saturday. Among them was Allen Thompson, who said he moved to Tukwila eight years ago and was priced out of his Seattle neighborhood, Capitol Hill. He said he worries for his neighbors in Tukwila now working multiple jobs to make ends meet.
"You lose diversity, you make life harder for the people who have to commute long distances to their work," Thompson said. "Everyone should make enough that they can by, afford food and housing, and this will make a concrete different for a good number of people who live in Tukwila."
The election takes place November 8th, with ballots being sent out in late October.