The politics of Seattle's $15 minimum wage

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Why did the City of Seattle pass a citywide minimum wage ordinance, increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour from the Washington state minimum wage of $9.47 per hour? This is an inquiry into the political workings of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage from both a policy perspective and a political activism perspective. I conducted an analysis of documents and public hearing videos from the City of Seattle and media documents on the ordinance to better understand the policy history surrounding the ordinance. I also conducted semi-structured, in-depth interviews with political actors involved in either activism or policymaking for the ordinance. I found that there were three crucial elements that worked together to create the Seattle minimum wage: Keynesian rhetoric, the election of City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, and political activism for a $15 minimum wage, with political activism working as a catalyst for the other elements.
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