Raise Up Washington, a citizens group promoting a higher state minimum wage and mandatory sick leave, plans to submit petitions to the Secretary of State today, likely meaning Initiative 1433 will be on the November ballot.
The movement backed by billionaire Nick Hanauer with funding support from labor unions claims the signature collection came after state legislators could not agree on how to mandate these employee benefits. It appears there will be more than enough signatures to earn the election vote.
If approved by voters, the statewide minimum wage would jump from the current $9.47 per hour to $11 an hour January 1st 2017 with employees also mandated to receive up to 12 days of paid sick-leave. Eventually, it would be a $13.50 minimum wage by 2020.
Employers of all sizes across a cross-section of industries are already speaking out in concerns voiced by trade and membership associations. Washington Farm Bureau, Restaurant Association, Lodging Association, Bankers Association, Affordable Housing Council and Association of Washington Business all oppose the initiative.
The state Lodging and Restaurant associations both have advocated to increase the minimum wage, but feel the schedule and amounts called for by this initiative are not reasonable. Particularly in the hospitality industry, they say, reducing staff or cutting staff hours could be unintended consequences of higher labor costs.