Minimum Wage

Washington voters will likely decide in November whether to raise the state minimum wage and require employers to provide paid sick leave. Backers of the Raise Up Washington campaign say they will submit more than 360,000 signatures Wednesday -- virtually guaranteeing it a spot on the fall ballot.

Idaho cities, counties and local voters will not have the option to approve increases in the minimum wage in the absence of action at the state level. A legislative measure to block local minimum wage increases became law Tuesday.

Oregon lawmakers are heading home Thursday after closing the books on a contentious four-and-a-half week long session. House Speaker Tina Kotek brought down the final gavel just after 1 p.m. Thursday.

One of the initiative campaigns to raise Oregon's minimum wage announced Monday that it's ending its signature-gathering efforts. But a separate campaign says it will keep trying to get an initiative on the November ballot.

Oregon lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a measure that will increase the state's minimum wage over the next six years. The vote in the Oregon House now sends the measure to the governor's desk.

Three states, three ways of addressing whether and how to raise the statewide minimum wage. In Oregon this coming Monday, the state House takes up a three-tiered wage increase that passed the state Senate last Thursday. In Washington state, activists are preparing to hit the streets for a statewide initiative. Meanwhile, Idaho lawmakers are mulling whether to block both a statewide and any possible local increases in the minimum wage.

A plan to hike Oregon's minimum wage is moving forward in the state legislature. The state Senate Thursday approved a measure that would increase the wage to as much as $14.75 per hour over the next six years.

Republicans in the Idaho and Washington legislatures want to block any more cities from going the path of Seattle and Tacoma in raising the minimum wage locally. In Boise Tuesday, a House committee introduced a state preemption bill.

Martin LaBar

Some Washington blueberry growers in Walla Walla County admitted in federal court that they systematically violated agricultural workers rights, including failing to pay minimum wage and overtime.

The growers, including Blue Mountain Farms and its affiliates, will have to pay pickers and packing shed workers nearly $400,000 in unpaid wages and damages, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Washington voters could decide in November on a combined minimum wage and sick leave measure . A union-backed campaign calling itself “Raise Up Washington” filed an initiative Monday to raise the state’s base wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020.

The effort to raise Oregon's minimum wage is getting a financial boost from the largest state workers union. SEIU local 503 has formed a political action committee to push for a hike in the state's base pay.

There’s a surprise newcomer to the campaign for a higher minimum wage in Washington. It’s the state’s restaurant association.

Minimum wage workers in Oregon won't see a pay raise next year. State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian announced Wednesday that Oregon's minimum wage will hold steady for the first time since 2010.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

   

As Northwest states debate whether to raise the minimum wage as high as $15 per hour, some adults with developmental disabilities continue to be paid as little as 25 cents per hour.

Oregon lawmakers are rushing to beat a Tuesday deadline for legislation to advance. But there's an old saying around the state capitol: No bill is truly dead until the final gavel falls.

The debate over whether to raise Oregon's minimum wage could be headed to the ballot.

The battle over raising Oregon's minimum wage will take center stage in the state legislature Monday.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday hinted at a minimum wage ballot measure in 2016. The Democrat said that Washington voters will decide the issue.

Two of the highest priority issues for Washington House Democrats are a $12 per hour minimum wage and paid sick leave.

Democrats in the Washington state House have passed a $12 per hour minimum wage measure. The increase would phase-in over four years.

A panel in the Idaho Senate introduced a bill that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour -- a $2 per hour increase -- by next year. 

Washington lawmakers are considering whether to exempt amateur athletes from state labor laws.

Oregon lawmakers are set to consider a measure that would raise the wage to $15 per hour.

Paid sick leave and a boost in the minimum wage are among the top priorities of organized labor in Washington state this year.

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

Washington Department of Labor and Industries

The new year will mean higher pay for low-wage workers in Oregon and Washington. The minimum wage in both states is set for an increase.

The minimum wage in both Washington and Oregon is tied to inflation. It's going up by 15 cents an hour in both states: to $9.47 in Washington and $9.25 in Oregon.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Low wage workers picketed and rallied across the country Thursday in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage.

On the steps of the Washington state capitol, you could see a group of about 50 people. Some of them carried signs saying "Strike poverty." They called for a $15 an hour base wage in Washington state.

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, a Democrat, indicated he would like to move a minimum wage bill in the upcoming 2015 legislative session. But with Republicans in charge of the Washington Senate, it seems likely that that effort would face roadblocks going forward.

SeaTac Minimum Wage Fight In Hands Of Supreme Court

Jun 26, 2014
Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Voters in SeaTac narrowly approved a $15 an hour minimum wage. Now, the state Supreme Court will decide whether that law should stand. And, if so, whether it should apply to workers at SeaTac Airport. Currently it does not. The justices heard oral arguments Thursday in a case that pits a city against a port and workers against businesses.

Cacophany / Wikimedia

Should SeaTac’s voter-approved $15 an hour minimum wage apply to airport workers? Washington’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on that question Thursday. The case pits airport vendors, Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle against supporters of the higher wage.

Seattle has become the first city in the country to establish a $15 an hour minimum wage. The City Council voted Monday to enact the new law, which was the result of months of negotiations.

It represents a 60 percent increase from the current state minimum wage, which at $9.32 an hour is the highest in the country.

Proponents say it’s a first step towards closing the rising income gap between rich and poor. Some businesses say they will go to court to fight it. KUOW’s Deborah Wang reports.

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