City Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant said today that she would work to pass a $15 an hour minimum wage bill in Seattle in 2014, but said she wasn’t ready to release details of a plan.
She said Mayor-elect Ed Murray’s campaign promise to get to a $15 minimum wage by the end of his term wasn’t a fast enough timetable, but she also said she planned to meet with Murray and other elected officials, as well as labor and community leaders, to try to reach consensus about what a measure should include, how fast it should be implemented and whether or not there should be exceptions for small business.
But primarily, she said, “We’re talking to the working people of Seattle. They have the most at stake.”
Sawant, holding her first news conference since being elected in November, said she was sympathetic to small businesses in Washington state because of the state’s regressive tax system, but she wouldn’t commit to including exceptions for some businesses below a certain size. She did say that large corporations were making the most money off low-wage workers.
She said a website for a $15 minimum wage campaign would launch Jan. 2 at 15Now.org, and said she wants to hear from people across the city. She was joined at the City Hall news conference by a leader of the SEIU 775 NW caregivers union, a fast food worker, an analyst from the NAACP, and a local pastor.