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Seattle suburb on its way to one of the highest minimum wages in US

Voters are deciding whether to bump the minimum wage in Renton, Washington, to the highest level in the country.
Seattle suburb on its way to one of the highest minimum wages in US
Posted at 6:54 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 20:55:29-05

Renton, Washington, is on its way to having one of the highest minimum wages in the nation. Initiative Measure 2302 has 58% of the votes right now.

If it passes, large employers in Renton will pay their employees $20.29 an hour and medium-sized employers will pay employees $18.29 an hour. Employers with less than 15 employees that have an annual gross under $2 million will be exempt. 

The measure also states that employers must "distribute additional hours to its part-time workers prior to hiring new employees, contractors, or temporary workers if its existing part-time workers have the skills and experience to perform the work."

Raise the Wage Renton is the group that canvassed to get the 8,900 signatures to get the measure to either the city council or the ballot — the city council voted to let voters decide and a February 13 special election was the day to get it down.

Guillermo Zazueta, chair of Raise the Wage, says that city data from the end of 2022 showed that over a 10 year period, there was a 5% increase in the number of households that quality as low income. He said those numbers were a driving factor to get an effort together to raise the wage.

"We've seen folks get further left behind due to stagnant wages, not catching up with those costs," said Zazueta. 

If this passes — it will mean 4 out of the 5 cities with the highest minimum wage will all be in King County, Washington: SeaTac, Seattle, Tukwila and Renton. Renton and Tukwila would be tied for the highest minimum wage in the nation.

SEE MORE: These 22 states raised the minimum wage to start 2024


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