Seattle stymied in efforts to raise minimum wage

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 24, 2014 at 8:04 pm •  Published: April 24, 2014
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SEATTLE (AP) — Highlighting the contentious debate around raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in a supportive city, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Thursday that no agreement has been reached among business and labor representatives trying to create a plan for city leaders.

With the advisory group seemingly failing to come up with a plan, the mayor's office had scheduled a news conference Thursday to announce his own proposal for raising the minimum wage, but Murray instead gave the committee more time. The advisory group of business, labor, nonprofit and other representatives has had four months to reach a consensus.

"We're stuck at the moment," Murray told reporters. "I rather be late and get it right than rush it and get it wrong."

Except for saying that some sort of phase-in has been agreed upon, Murray did not provide many details of the plan being hashed out. The mayor said he wants to get a "super majority" of the 24-person advisory group to agree to a proposal, and added that if the group fails, he'll present his own proposal to the City Council. But he did not present a clear timeline.

Washington state already has the nation's high minimum wage at $9.32 an hour. Murray, who made a campaign promise in last year's election to raise the minimum hourly wage in the Northwest's largest city to $15, faces a slew of options.

Businesses are pushing for a phase-in, with wage credits for tips and health care benefits, while other groups are pushing for an immediate wage hike on big employers and a limited phase-in for small and midsize businesses.