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Seattle Approves Country's Highest Minimum Wage of $15

KNWA via NBC -- The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously approved a $15 hourly minimum wage — the highest in the nation.
KNWA via NBC -- The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously approved a $15 hourly minimum wage — the highest in the nation.

The ordinance, which phases in the increase over time, passed a committee last week with a few changes. It would take effect next April and allow a sub-minimum wage for teens.

The ordinance was drafted by an advisory group of labor, business and nonprofit representatives convened by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. It would phase in wage increases over three to seven years, depending on the size of the business and employee benefits.

The City Council voted 9-0 in front of a sometimes raucous audience that frequently interjected cheers, applause and shouts of “Shame on you!” as the council debated several changes to the measure.

Seattle’s higher minimum wage would surpass San Francisco’s minimum of $10.74 an hour.

Washington state also has the highest state minimum wage, at $9.32 an hour.

Some small business owners worry that a higher minimum wage could put them out of business.

The International Franchise Association, a Washington, D.C.-based business group that represents franchise owners, said it plans to sue to stop the ordinance.

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