Seattle Residents Testify For, Against $15 An Hour Minimum Wage

May 14, 2014

Elected officials in Seattle heard an earful Tuesday night about a proposal to raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour. Dozens of people testified before a Seattle City Council public hearing.

Immigrant business owners came out in force against the proposal. Ron Oh owns a Holiday Inn Express.

Oh: "This is our dream, this is my family’s dream. This is why we are here. and if you expect this social experiment, this whole thing is an experiment that could go wrong, could affect all our businesses, our livelihoods."

The City Council is considering a plan put forward by Mayor Ed Murray.

It would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour within three years for large businesses, and would give smaller businesses up to ten years.

Jess Spear from the group 15Now said the mayor’s plan gives big businesses too much time.

Spear: "It’s totally understandable why small businesses say they need time to adjust, but what makes no sense to me and I have yet to hear anyone explain, is why big business, why Target, QFC, Starbucks, Wendy’s Pizza Hut, and McDonalds. Why these giant corporations that make millions in profits need any time to adjust?"

15Now plans to start collecting signatures this week to put a charter amendment on the ballot.

It would require large businesses to pay $15 an hour immediately.

City Council members say they hope to approve a minimum wage ordinance this spring.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network