Seattle City Council members voted unanimously this morning to pass a proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The proposal will go to the full City Council for a final vote Monday.
The vote came after a morning discussion about amendments, including one that passed, that would delay implementation of a new city minimum-wage law from Jan. 1 to April 1.
The seven council members, acting as the committee on minimum wage, were 4-3 split on that vote. Councilmember Sally Clark had proposed the amendment for the delay, saying it would give businesses more time to plan for the increase.
The committee also approved an amendment authorizing the city to set a lower minimum wage for minors and for apprentice and training programs. Mayor Ed Murray proposed the provision saying it paralleled state law. But unions and worker advocates objected saying it could be abused by employers.
The Council voted down a proposal by Councilmember Kshama Sawant that would have sped up the timeline for business to reach the minimum wage. Sawant’s allies in the Socialist Alternative Party attempted to present 10,000 signatures backing a charter amendment that would require big business to pay $15 an hour January 1 and give small businesses three years.
When Councilmember Sally Clark, chair of the minimum wage commitee, directed the group to submit the petitions to the City Clerk’s office, 15 Now activists broke into a chant of “What do we want? 15! When do we want it? Now!”
Sawant was also unsuccessful in removing the temporary tip credit from the proposal. She argued that a majority of tipped workers were women and that allowing a credit would add to the city’s gender wage gap.
Despite the defeats on amendments, the standing room only audience made up of union supporters, fast food workers and 15 Now activists, broke into cheers when the Council unanimously approved the legislation.