$15 minimum wage in Seattle? Murray to address issue Friday

SEATTLE — City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant said that the website 15now.org would release details at noon Thursday of her plans to bring a $15-an-hour minimum wage to the city.

The site, 15now.org, even had a countdown clock. But when it hit :00 at noon, nothing happened.

"I think they'll be pretty self-explanatory when it comes to light," said Sawant, who added that she didn't feel comfortable talking about it at City Hall because it's not part of city business yet.

Sawant and Mayor Ed Murray, who were privately sworn into office last Tuesday, Dec. 31, will be sworn in again in a public ceremony on Monday, Jan. 6.

Murray announced late Thursday that he would hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Friday to "discuss the next stops to raise the wage to $15 an hour for all Seattle City employees."

Sawant said the $15 issue she campaigned on is still gaining momentum.

"Nearly 100,000 people voted for our campaign, so clearly there is a desire out here to see major change," said Sawant.

Voters in the city of SeaTac passed a $15 minimum wage there, but a judge recently ruled that hundreds of employees at the airport are not eligible for raises because it's operated by the Port of Seattle.

Sawant said she hopes the SeaTac workers win on appeal.

She recently joined Murray's special committee to study a minimum wage increase in Seattle, but says she won't back down on her promise of $15 an hour, even if her website is not quite up.

"Our task now is continuing building that support, continuing appealing to people to get engaged, and that`s what the 15-dollar-now task will be."

The 15now.org website provided information on the plans late Thursday night.  The site called for supporters to form a grass-roots campaign and donate money ($15) to counter the large "Corporate America" funds that it said will be used to fight the minimum wage increase movement.  It also urged supporters of $15 an hour to attend a rally in Seattle on Jan. 12.