The Battle over the Minimum Wage, City by City

TitleThe Battle over the Minimum Wage, City by City
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsDreier, Peter
JournalNew Labor Forum
Volume23
Issue3
Pagination85 - 88
Date Published2014///
Keywordscommunity organizations, elections, equality, living wage, minimum wage, working class
Abstract

[Excerpt] Seattle Mayor Ed Murray used May Day 2014 to announce that business and labor had agreed to a historic plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Seattle’s bold measure is a part of a growing wave of activism and local legislation around the country to help lift the working poor out of poverty. The gridlock in Washington—where Congress has not boosted the federal minimum wage, stuck at $7.25 an hour, since 2009—has catalyzed a growing movement in cities and states. Nineteen states have minimum wages over $7.25 an hour, and ten states automatically increase their minimum wages with inflation. In 2004, San Francisco and Santa Fe, New Mexico were the first two localities to adopt citywide minimum-wage laws, now $10.74 and $10.66, respectively. Since then, cities from Los Angeles to New York have begun the process of crafting minimum-wage laws with different components. Nineteen states now have minimum wages over $7.25 an hour, and ten states automatically increase their minimum wages with inflation. As of June 2014, activists in Idaho, South Dakota, and Alaska were gathering signatures to put minimum-wage hikes on the ballot this year. Their counterparts in Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Hawaii were pushing state legislators to raise the minimum wages in their states, too.