As expected, on Monday afternoon the Seattle City Council passed the historic

As expected, on Monday afternoon the Seattle City Council passed the historic $15-an-hour minimum-wage bill that Mayor Murray and the Council had spent months hammering out.

With all nine councilmembers in attendance, the bill was approved unanimously, even earning the endorsement of socialist Kshama Sawant by the time the dust settled. Throughout the process, Sawant had made clear her displeasure with aspects of the proposal—including lodging one of two “No” votes when it emerged from the Mayor’s minimum-wage task force last month—and continued to push for changes to the bill until the very end. The Council’s unanimous vote followed the failed introduction of four worker-friendly amendments favored by Sawant, including efforts to remove training wages and tip credits. The legislation, signed on Tuesday by Murray in a ceremony at Cal Anderson Park, is now scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2015.

Opening the day’s regularly scheduled City Council meeting to boisterous cheers, Council President Tim Burgess called order and got to business. After two quick proclamations—one in support of Pride Month, which will be signed by Seattle’s first openly gay mayor—the public-comment portion of the meeting was raucous and predictable. Those who spoke were staunchly in favor of the minimum-wage hike, urgently expressing the need to institute it quickly and without business-friendly “corporate loopholes” like a training wage, tip credit, and the three-month delay in implementation. Chants like “Tip credit? Forget it!” erupted between speakers.

“What 15 means is workers like me are able to afford basic necessities,” a Target employee named Hanna told the Council, citing things like shoes, dentist visits, and retirement. “I don’t want to work until I die.” When Hanna revealed she’d gone on strike from Target as part of the fight, she received a standing ovation.

In introducing the legislation, Councilmember Sally Clark noted, “No city or state has gone this far with minimum wage, yet. . . . We all must be invested in making this work [in Seattle].”

It was obvious throughout the meeting that differences still exist among councilmembers—and between the Council and the $15-an-hour supporters in attendance—but when it came time to vote, the message was clear: Seattle has made tackling income inequality a top priority, and this was a huge milestone in that fight. The 9-0 vote spoke loudest of all.

“Today workers in Seattle have made history,” Sawant noted just prior to the final vote. “We did this. Workers did this!”

It was hard not to agree with her.

Following the vote, supporters of the new bill gathered outside City Hall, where they enjoyed cake, ice cream, and high-fives. Large speakers filled the sunny afternoon air with the triumphant sounds of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” and Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down,” among other victory jams. Mayor Murray, after cutting a celebratory cake, briefly spoke to the crowd, telling those in attendance that “Today marks a beginning, not an end.” A large $15 sign was then raised high, to the cheers of many.

“The rest of the nation will follow us,” Murray exclaimed, vowing to “make [Seattle] once again a progressive city.

“Let’s start a new tomorrow.”

Moments later, Councilmember Kshama Sawant issued her own statement, striking a victorious stance while also noting the work she sees as yet to be done.

“Our victory is not complete, but we have fought until the last day, the last hour, against all the loopholes demanded by business,” Sawant’s statement read in part. “We’ll come back to the questions of tip penalty, the long phase-in, the training wage. . . . But today’s message is clear: If we organize as workers, with a socialist strategy, we can tackle the chasm of income inequality and social injustice. . . . 15 in Seattle is just a beginning. We have an entire world to win.” E