New minimum wage, city booms

Last year, in January, Crystal Thompson was being paid $9.47 an hour working at Domino’s in Seattle. This year, on January 1, 2016, she saw her pay rate go up to $13 an hour for the same job. This wasn’t a surprise or a gift, Crystal knew it was coming because she was one of the leaders who made it happen.

“Fast food workers have been paving the way for a better future,” she said. “I’ll be able to afford my own place in a safe neighborhood where my kids can ride their bikes.”

This is the second step up in the minimum wage on our way to $15. The first one happened last April. You can check where your hourly minimum wage should be in Seattle using our What’s My Wage app if ya want.

Winning a higher wage in Seattle wasn’t easy. Workers like Crystal made it happen for Seattle in the face of powerful opposition. Those opponents ranted and raved about how the sky would fall and Seattle would slide into the Puget Sound. Local restaurateurs cried out that they would close down shops, slow expansion, or move out of the city. They’ve since gone on to open more locations.

Eltana: Wood-Fired Bagel Cafe, Seattle, WA

Eltana: Wood-Fired Bagel Cafe, Seattle, WA

The truth is, Seattle is doing better with higher wages. Some employers are so desperate to hire to keep up with the increased demand that they are offering up referral bonuses. For real, check it out.

The sky remains aloft. We knew that more money in more pockets would drive up consumer demand and create a cycle of prosperity that would benefit everyone. That’s how our economy should grow, from the bottom up.

Workers just saw their first paycheck under the new rate — that’s a great way to start the new year.