Group aims to bring Seattle minimum wage push to Tukwila

Mar 25, 2022, 10:50 AM
Minimum wage Tukwila...
Southcenter Mall in Tukwila. (Oran Viriyincy, Wikimedia Commons)
(Oran Viriyincy, Wikimedia Commons)

The push begins to make Tukwila the next local city with a top-tier minimum wage.

Seattle mulls first-of-its-kind minimum wage for app-based delivery drivers

The effort is being spearheaded by Transit Riders Union General Secretary Katie Wilson, who points to Tukwila’s status as “one of the largest job centers in Washington state.”

“It’s home to Southcenter Mall, so it’s a real hub for low-rage retail and food service jobs,” Wilson told KIRO Newsradio, noting that SeaTac and Seattle — which both neighbor Tukwila — have already established their own minimum wage above the state’s own standard.

If the proposal is passed, it would take effect at the start of next year, establishing an $18 minimum wage for companies with over 501 employees worldwide, and around $16 for businesses under that 501 employee threshold.

There would be special rules in place for smaller businesses, allowing for more time to implement the new standards. It would also mandate that part-time employees be offered additional hours before a business can expand staff to cover those hours.

As for concerns that higher wages will lead to undue stress on local employers, Wilson says there is broad support among small businesses.

Study: Grocery prices unaffected by Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance

“We’ve got a bunch of small businesses that are supportive of the campaign,” she said. “I think they see that when workers are making more money, they also have more money to spend on local businesses.”

“There was a lot of fear when Seattle’s minimum wage went into effect that businesses weren’t going to be able to afford it, but I think what we saw in practice was that the overwhelming majority of businesses were able to find ways to adjust,” she added.

Moving forward, organizers will need roughly 1,700 signatures from registered Tukwila voters by June in order to make it onto the November ballot. Petitions will start circulating Saturday, March 26.

At the council level, five of seven Tukwila City Council members have expressed their own approval for the measure.

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Group aims to bring Seattle minimum wage push to Tukwila