What seemed impossible just a few years ago is now becoming reality. Two states in the last week have reached proposals to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. California’s initiative will raise the minimum wage for all workers to $15/hour by 2023, benefiting more than a third of the state’s workforce.
New York’s deal will guarantee a minimum wage of $12.50/hour throughout the state, with a goal of a gradual increase to $15/hour. New York City’s minimum wage will rise fastest, with surrounding suburbs close behind.
As Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project explains, “While the upstate increase is slower than what workers need and what the governor fought for, the fact that $12.50 has become the compromise position for minimum wage opponents highlights how dramatically the Fight for $15 has shifted the whole debate around wages.”
These announcements are great news for the Raise the Wage movement and thousands of low-wage workers in California and New York.
But workers in some states are getting left behind. In February, Birmingham voted to increase the local minimum wage. Within days, Alabama’s state legislature stepped in to pre-empt the increase by passing a law requiring all cities to comply with the state minimum wage, currently $7.25/hour, a poverty wage for most workers.
To benefit workers in states that are fighting to keep wages low, it is imperative that we increase the federal minimum wage. The Raise the Wage Act would do that.
Posted on: April 5th 2016