Minimum wage

If you hit the drive-through, chances are that the cashier who rings you up or the cook who prepared your food relies on public assistance to make ends meet.

A new analysis finds that 52 percent of fast-food workers are enrolled in, or have their families enrolled in, one or more public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured into both sides of a heated controversy over a proposed minimum wage hike in the city of SeaTac. 

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday denied an appeal by Alaska Airlines and other business groups seeking to keep the living-wage ordinance off the November ballot.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

After a legal tug-of-war, supporters of a $15 per hour minimum wage for some workers in SeaTac have gotten their initiative on the November ballot.

Alaska Airlines, the Washington Restaurant Association and an airport restaurant owner had challenged the validity of some of the petition signatures, but a panel of appeals judges ruled that those signatures should be counted and the measure will head to the voters.

Ashley Gross

Fast food workers in Seattle and Tacoma demanding higher pay walked off the job Thursday as part of a nationwide strike. Experts say it’s a rare show of labor strength at a time when unions have lost influence.

Workers and community supporters stood outside a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop in downtown Seattle, chanting, “Get up! Strike!” One Metro bus driver raised his fist to show his support as he drove by.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

A King County Superior judge has thrown out a few dozen signatures for an initiative that would bring up the minimum wage in SeaTac, Wash., to $15 an hour.

But the group behind the initiative has submitted another 250 signatures to replace the ones thrown out.

Bellamy Pailthorp Photos / KPLU News

Workers at fast-food restaurants all over Seattle walked off the job Thursday and rallied outside, taking part in a national movement calling for better wages and the right to organize.

The workers walked out of Taco Bell in Ballard, Burger King in Lake City, Taco Del Mar in the U-District, and Arby’s in Georgetown. During the lunch hour on Broadway, dozens of workers and their supporters waved signs outside an empty Qdoba franchise, demanding a living wage of $15 per hour. 

Jessica Robinson

The border between the states of Washington and Idaho is like a Petri dish for what the minimum wage does to the economy. That’s where two extremes meet.

Idaho has the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. While Washington’s is nearly $2 more, the highest in the nation. You might expect that wage gap to send Washington border businesses fleeing over to Idaho. But that's not what's happening.

Back in 1912, Massachusetts became the first place in America to introduce a minimum wage, but it would take another quarter century before a national minimum wage was set.

President Franklin Roosevelt made it law in 1938, that any hourly worker had to be paid at least 25 cents an hour. It was revolutionary, and very few countries had anything like it.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Despite a slow economic recovery, inflation is up. That means Washington’s minimum wage will increase to more than $9 an hour starting in January.

That was the announcement Friday from the state. The wage hike is based on a voter approved initiative that links the minimum wage to inflation.

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