In recent weeks, the “Fight for $15,” a movement of underpaid workers and their allies fighting to raise the minimum wage to a more livable $15 per hour, has been picking up momentum in cities across the country. There have already been several victories: Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and most recently, Los Angeles, are all phasing in a $15 minimum wage. Fast food workers in New York will also likely see their minimum pay to rise to $15 an hour, and organizers in Washington, DC are working hard to get a $15 minimum wage on the ballot in 2016.
This progress serves as a testament to what is possible when we continue the conversation about the importance of fair wages for our nation’s low-wage workers.
Who is among those who would be affected most by a higher minimum wage? Indisputably, Latina women and their families. Read more »
A panel appointed by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recommended yesterday that the minimum wage be raised for employees of fast-food chain restaurants to $15 an hour over the next few years. Their proposal calls for the minimum wage to go up to $10.50 in New York City and $9.75 in the rest of the state by Dec. 31, then increase gradually each year to reach $15 in New York City by the end of 2018 and in the rest of the state by July 1, 2021. It is expected that the labor commissioner, Mario Musolino, will accept and implement their recommendation. Read more »
This week marks six years since the federal minimum wage last went up—and the tipped minimum wage has been unchanged for more than a generation. NWLC, along with the National Council of La Raza and the National Urban League, just released two new analyses highlighting why increasing the minimum wage is especially important for Latinas and African American women.
Big news out of California this week: the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 on Wednesday to adopt a plan that will raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020, boosting pay for more than 40 percent of the workforce in the country’s second-largest city. (The ordinance will require another procedural vote next week before being sent to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who supports the measure.) The minimum wage statewide—currently $9 per hour and scheduled to reach $10 in 2016—could also go higher if the Assembly approves a bill passed by the state Senate this week that would raise California's minimum wage to $11 next year and to $13 in 2017. Read more »
Millions of workers—mostly women—struggle to make ends meet on minimum wage earnings. A new bill scheduled to be introduced tomorrow, the Raise the Wage Act, would significantly help these workers by increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12.00 per hour by 2020, then indexing it to keep pace with wages overall. The bill would also eliminate the federal minimum cash wage for tipped workers by gradually raising it until it is equal to the regular minimum wage.
Walmart made headlines last week when it announced plans to increase the base pay at their stores to $9 an hour ($1.75 above the current federal minimum wage) in April and to $10 by February 2016. While $10 an hour is still not enough for a full-time worker to keep a family of four out of poverty, it will boost paychecks for close to 500,000 full-time and part-time hourly workers at Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. stores—about 40% of their current workers—and represents an important victory for the employee activists of OUR Walmart, who have vowed to continue to fight for a $15 base wage and fairer workplace policies. The move also adds a huge corporation to the list of companies recognizing that better wages can mean better business, and more will likely follow suit; just today, T.J. Maxx announced that it will also raise the minimum pay in its line of stores to $10 an hour by 2016, describing the change as “an important part of our strategies to continue attracting and retaining the best talent in order to deliver a great shopping experience for our customers, remain competitive on wages in our U.S. markets and stay focused on our value mission.” Read more »
The minimum wage went up in 20 states on January 1st. South Dakota had the largest boost of $1.25 per hour thanks to South Dakota voters, who overwhelmingly approved the wage increase on the state’s ballot in November. Arkansas and Nebraska also saw their minimum wages increase on the 1st as a result of successful ballot initiatives, while workers in Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia got raises due to legislative action. Minimum wages in the other nine states—Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington—increased automatically because they are indexed to inflation, a policy that ensures the minimum wage keeps pace with the rising cost of living. Workers in Alaska, D.C., Delaware and Minnesota are set to get raises later in 2015. Read more »