Renton minimum wage increase to appear on ballots in Feb. 2024

Raise the Wage Renton urges city council to approve the measure by council vote before then.

A coalition of educators, labor unions, elected officials and community members have come together to launch a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to over $19 per hour in Renton.

Raise the Wage Renton has announced that Renton voters will decide on a higher minimum wage during the February 2024 Special Election.

Raise the Wage Renton reported that volunteers and staff members knocked on nearly 50,000 doors in the community to collect over 17,000 petition signatures to get the measure onto the ballot.

On Nov. 20, the advocacy group also wrote a letter to the Renton City Council, urging the council members to pass the proposed ordinance by a council vote without alteration in the coming weeks.

“This decision would save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars by avoiding a costly special election and would send an important message to voters that their council governs in accordance with the will of their constituents and the community at large,” Raise the Wage Renton wrote in a letter to the Renton City Council.

Raise the Wage Renton reminded the Renton City Council that they can pass the proposed ordinance, without alteration, within 20 days of certification of the petition as established in the Washington State Revised Code of Washington (RCW 35.17.260).

“Renton City Council has an important decision to make in helping shape the future of our local economy and conditions of our workforce and families,” Raise the Wage Renton said in a press release. “In Renton and across the region, residents are facing skyrocketing inflation, unaffordable rent prices, and workers are commuting longer hours and further distances to afford basic necessities.”

In 2015, the city of SeaTac landed a historic win as it became the first city in the United States to adopt a $15 minimum wage law. That same year, Seattle followed suit and enacted its own minimum wage increase. In 2022, the city of Tukwila passed a minimum wage ordinance mandating a $19 minimum wage, receiving widespread support with over 80 percent of the vote.

Just this year, the King County Council proposed a near-identical $19 minimum wage ordinance for unincorporated King County and county contracted employees.