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Seattle’s new mayor announces $15 minimum wage for city employees

Just three days on the job, Seattle’s new mayor Ed Murray, announced plans to raise the minimum wage for city workers.

“Today I will issue an executive order directing my department heads to develop a comprehensive strategy to implementing a $15 minimum wage in the City of Seattle for city employees,” Murray said in a news conference Friday morning.

Murray said his personnel director and budget director will lead the effort and explore options to make the order retroactive to the start of 2014. Murray has said that he’ll give his team four months to raise the wage.

The new mayor said he recognizes he’ll have to work closely with the city council for its buy-off.

“I think it’s important, once again, to remember that when I talked about an affordable city in the campaign and during the transition, we cannot, in this administration and this city … focus on a single issue. There is no single strategy to make this city affordable for low income and middle class working people,” said Murray.

Early estimates suggest the new wage will cost the city about $700,000, according to Murray. He said they’ve talked with King County Budget Director Dwight Dively and learned that all county employees are paid at least $15 an hour.

“So I don’t believe this is an issue that should be insurmountable for the city government,” said Murray.

Social city councilmember Kshama Sawant applauds Murray’s efforts.

“This move towards $15 for an estimated 600 city employees is an important step in the right direction and a victory of the growing movement of low-wage workers,” said Sawant.

She is now urging the new mayor to also consider raising the minimum wage for the city’s subcontractors.

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