It started in Seattle, then the City of Sea-Tac, and now supporters of the $15 minimum wage appear to have enough signatures to get it on the ballot this fall.

A group called Raise Up Washington have turned in some 360,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office, and at least 246,000 have to be valid.

The group wants to implement a $15 minimum wage as follows:

  • 2017 $11 per hour
  • 2018 $11.50
  • 2019 $12 per hour
  • 2020 $13.50, then the full $15 the following year.

A number of groups, including The Washington Restaurant Association, the Association of Washington Businesses, and the Washington Farm Bureau are against the measure. They point out some reasonable wage raising bills that were less expensive, and more of a compromise, were never passed.

It's noted several bills that would raise the wage to $12 per hour never got out of committee or came close to passing in the state legislature. Despite the number of signatures, it's uncertain how this will play out in the rest of the state outside of Seattle and King County, where the bulk of the support is generated from.

Their facebook page shows 2,745 likes, far below the numbers you would expect for a campaign that's raised 360,000 signatures.

Critics say much of the support comes from certain special interest groups, and not the general working public. The Raise Up Washington group is part of the controversial Working Washington group, largely made up of fast-food workers, with union-style organization. They were responsible for a number of fast-food restaurant strikes on the west side over the last few years.

Despite warnings from other sources and even cities, such as San Francisco and Seattle, Raise Up Washington wants the wage universal across the state. Even the New York Media, not known for being conservative, warned earlier this year state officials should shy away from such a measure.


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