Minimum wage hike in Seattle – Legislative efforts stall

Today Seattle pulls onto the on-ramp en route to a $15 minimum wage. Some minimum wage workers will go to $10/hr; some to $11/hr. (Schedule here.)

The University of Washington, which may or may not be covered by the Seattle ordinance, announced it’s raising its minimum to $11. From the UW press release:

Of the approximately 39,000 non-student employees at the UW, 70 currently earn below $11 per hour. Effective Wednesday, they will reach the $11 level.

“We are pleased to be moving in synch with the rest of the city,” said Interim UW President Ana Mari Cauce.

The Seattle Times reports that the Seattle effort is receiving national attention.

The Washington Restaurant Association believes the city’s high minimum will have an effect on the industry.

“At the end of the day, the math of the industry has to change,” said Anton. “Seattle will have to invent a different restaurant model than the historical one.”

…“We can find a way to make this work,” Anton said. “We can continue to have a thriving small restaurant scene and work on a better situation for employees. Those don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

Seattle economist Peter Nickerson believes there will be adverse consequences

“The people I worry about most are the people who are really low-qualified,” Nickerson said. They are “going to be competing against people who weren’t willing to wash dishes for $10, but will do it for $15.”

Another oddity of the Seattle law is its treatment of franchisees as large employers, an issue examined in Don Brunell’s column

While Seattle explores uncharted territory, legislative efforts to raise the statewide minimum wage to $12 have apparently stalled