Seattle beat out San Francisco yesterday to become the city in the nation with the highest minimum wage: $15-an-hour. Workers won’t see the bump in their paychecks until 2017 though. The increase will be phased in over three to seven years depending on the size of the business. In exchange for providing health insurance, businesses with 500 or more employees have a year’s extension giving them four years to implement the wage increase. Yesterday’s vote is being described as historic and a model for the rest of the country where continued fast food worker protests have drawn increasing attention to employees’ struggle to improve wages.
Some local businesses support the compromise plan reached after months of negotiation but many are torn, as the PBS News Hour video shows. One business group, the International Franchise Association plans to file suit, calling the increase “unfair” and “discriminatory.”