Don’t be shocked when a flood of unemployed people begin to make the trek to the great North West. Earlier today, the city of Seattle passed a historic new measure that will sure help people who work for minimum wage.

The city has imposed a new $15 per hour minimum wage law.

Fast-food workers, union organizers and labor activists celebrated on the City Hall Plaza after the historic vote with cake and ice cream provided by some local small businesses who joined in support of a plan that will phase-in the $15 minimum over the next seven years.

“A year ago, $15 was just a number on fast food picket signs. Today it’s become a reality for 100,000 Seattle workers,” said Sage Wilson, spokesman for Working Washington, a union-backed group that helped organize the first fast-food workers’ strike almost exactly one year ago.

The speed with which the measure went from political slogan to economic reality surprised even advocates, whose campaign emphasized the high cost of living in Seattle and the low pay of even full-time minimum wage workers who currently earn about $19,300 a year.

“I think the fast food walkouts tapped into the frustration and anger at seeing lives shut down because of low wages,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “ We all see how much money is being concentrated in a few hands.”

Both mayoral candidates supported the idea during the 2013 campaign, and once elected, Mayor Ed Murray made it a priority second only to police reform; he stood in the back of council chambers as the vote was taken. A $15 minimum wage passed in SeaTac in November after both labor and business spent heavily fighting each other on the measure.

The election of socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant in November provided pressure from the left. Her organization, 15 Now, made raising the minimum wage a political rallying cry and convinced many business leaders to work for a compromise proposal on Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee.

Read more about the historic move here

Source: Seattle Times