- Minimum wage increases swept the country in 2016 with 25 states and jurisdictions approving raises for 11.8 million U.S. workers. The National Employment Law Project released figures on the Fight for $15 victories for the year on Wednesday.
- Led by fast-food workers and other low-paid employees, the Fight for $15 movement pushed to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Campaigns are underway in at least 12 additional states, which signals the possibility of more wins in 2017 and 2018 for 8 million more workers. Given the combination of recent victories, workers in 41 states could see raises on Jan. 1, 2017, the National Employment Law Project estimates.
- Most wage increases will be phased in from current levels to increments of $10, $12 and $15 between 2017 and 2021. Workers in some California municipalities will eventually earn as much as $19 an hour.
The Fight for $15 is victorious on the state and local level. But the chance of the federal minimum wage increasing under a Republican-dominated Senate and Congress are slim. Some GOP lawmakers, along with other party operatives, oppose any increase in the federal minimum wage, which sets the base hourly rate for the rest of the country.
Maine and Flagstaff, AZ, are aligning tipped workers’ pay with the minimum wage for all other workers in those localities. However, Maine is delaying the effective date for the increase by three weeks in anticipation of legislative changes in the section of the law affecting these workers.