SEATTLE, May 1 (UPI) — Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan Thursday that would give the city the highest minimum wage in the United States, $15 an hour.
The increase would be phased in and small and large businesses would have different timetables, the mayor said. Businesses with more than 500 employees that do not provide health benefits would have three years while some small businesses would have seven.
“No industry, organization or class of employer is exempt,” the mayor said.
Washington State already has the highest minimum wage in the country, $9.32 an hour. Hawaii and Maryland have adopted plans to increase the minimum wage in their states, while a plan backed by President Obama to raise the national minimum to $10.10 stalled Wednesday in the U.S. Senate.
Murray, a left-wing Catholic, made the announcement on May Day, celebrated as International Workers Day by many around the world.
The mayor got support from most members of an advisory committee he set up. Maud Daudon of the Metropolitan Seattle Chamber of Commerce abstained and Craig Dawson of Retail Lockbox voted against the plan while Kshama Sawant, a Socialist member of the city council, opposed it on the grounds that the increase should come sooner.
Councilman Nick Licata, who spoke after the mayor, promised to work to get the increase passed.