• Seattle's newest councilwoman vows minimum wage rises to $15

    By: Maria Guerrero


    Seattle’s new, Socialist city councilwoman has vowed to make 2014, the year of the $15 an hour minimum wage.

    Kshama Sawant wants thousands of people to rally at the Seattle Labor Temple in Belltown Sunday afternoon.

    Sawant has taken to social media to rally support, saying there needs to be power in numbers to get this done.

    KIRO7 spoke with Sawant following her inauguration last week.       

    The Socialist leader, along with workers and activists, have formed the "15 Now" campaign.

    She says the only way they can counter the power of Corporate America is by building a massive grassroots campaign with town hall meetings, mass rallies, even strikes.

    Sawant isn't ruling out compromise, like phasing in the $15 an hour minimum wage or exempting small businesses.

    But she also says this kind of talk is premature.

    "Compromise is really a question to be asked at the end of the road, not at the beginning of the road. Right now we should building our forces, and that's why it's important for people to join our grassroots effort," she said.

    Mayor Ed Murray appointed Sawant to his committee on a higher minimum wage.

    The two new leaders have already had some friction.

    Sawant was quoted in the Seattle Times, as saying the mayor's signing of an executive order to raise the minimum wage of city workers to  $15 an hour, if  they don't make at least that is him acting on pressure from below to act on the rhetoric of the campaign.

    Today's rally will launch the “15 Now” campaign.

    Sawant is calling on thousands to rally here at the Labor Temple on 1st and Clay this afternoon at 2:30.

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