Last week the Bellingham City Council approved a resolution to endorse an increased minimum wage and paid sick/safe time as a state initiative. This should be the final step on the local level. We, as your Chamber, have been following this process for almost a year now when a City Council member presented a Paid Sick/Safe time ordinance. From a local level, we would consider this a success as there will be no local ordinance thus allowing Bellingham to remain competitive with other local cities and counties.

What does this mean?

  • There will be no Bellingham specific ordinance.
  • This was a ceremonial gesture on behalf of the City Council to support this being a state wide initiative.

What is the initiative?

  • It is initiative 1433. More info can be found here.
  • It is a plan to “gradually” increase the minimum wage to $13.50/hr by 2020, with an ultimate goal of raising the threshold to $15/hr. It also includes labor standards such as paid sick and safe leave by a certain date for certain criteria.

What Next?

  • Watch for this in your November ballots, and stay informed. We are pretty certain the sponsors will be able to get this on this year’s ballot.
  • If you support this initiative, there are a few organizations who are leading the charge.
  • If you oppose this initiative, speak out.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Guy Occhiogrosso, President/CEO of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The Chamber has a Governmental Affairs Committee which discusses these types of issues. The committee meetings every other month.