Seattle raises wages for thousands of workers. Seattle was the first major city in the nation to adopt a $15/hour minimum wage. The advocacy effort started in neighboring SeaTac, home to Seattle's airport. As airline companies began to pay workers as contractors, causing wages to decline dramatically, a local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) chapter led a successful ballot initiative campaign to increase the minimum wage for airport-related jobs to $15/hour. This policy shift built momentum to expand the minimum wage increase to the whole city. As of January 1, 2020, Seattle's minimum wage will be $16.39/hour for large employers (501 or more employees) and $15.75/hour for smaller employers who do not pay toward individual employee's medical benefits. Despite initial pushback from the restaurant industry, the number of jobs in restaurants and bars has continued to grow since the wage increase. Lower-wage workers have seen significantly more rapid hourly wage growth while remaining in the jobs longer, leading to lower labor turnover rates overall. Read more.