Minimum Wage

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.

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.