Reclaim the American Dream

Progress Report: Minimum Wage

Progress Report:
Raise Minimum Wage

29 States Top Federal Minimum Wage

With Washington gridlocked on the bread-and-butter issue of a fair minimum wage for the 21st Century, states and cities across the nation have seized the policy initiative. For seven years, Congress has taken no action, but 29 states stretching from Maine to Hawaii, 13 stat and more than a dozen major cities have pushed their minimums upward, leaving the federal wage standard far behind.

The impact of state and city actions means that a majority of American workers — more than 60 percent –are now under the umbrella of state minimums higher than the $7.25 an hour federal minimum. With each election season, momentum grows for higher regional and local minimums.

At present, 13 states have adopted the federal minimum as their own, and six states have minimum wage levels below the federal level to cover workers who are exempted from federal coverage, such as those in small businesses. Two states, Georgia and Wyoming, have no minimum wage law at all.

 Flash Strikes and the “Fight for $15” 

With fast-food and retail workers staging sporadic one-day “flash strikes” in a nationwide “Fight for $15,”  pressures built in liberal-leaning cities and states to adopt that as a wage floor.

People rally for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, 2014. Source: Seattle City Council.

The first breakthrough came in an unlikely spot – the small city of SeaTac, surrounding the airport area of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. When employers rejected union demands, labor, religious, and community groups scored a victory for the $15 minimum and other protections in SeaTac through a popular referendum in November 2013. Seattle became the first big city to adopt the $15 minimum in 2014.

Within two years, the states of California and New York also adopted $15 an hour as their target, to be reached step-by-step over several years, as in Seattle. With more than a score of states raising their minimum ages gently, several large cities pushed ahead with bolder increases  – cities like Albuquerque, Chicago, Los Angeles, Providence, Kansas City, San Francisco, San Diego, and Santa Fe.

But this patchwork of increases met strong opposition from conservative and business groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. ALEC lobbied state legislatures into passing laws barring their own major cities and county governments from raising local minimums. In all, 18 states have passed such pre-emptive legislation – Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Typically, the business cry against raising minimum wages is that it will cost jobs, because employers will lay off some workers to check against rising labor costs. But a 2017 study of Seattle’s gradually rising minimum shows no job loss in the pivotal restaurant sector where business leaders had predicted labor cutbacks. Economists at the University of California in Berkeley reported their surveys “show that wages in food services did increase—indicating the policy achieved its goal… Employment in food service, however, was not affected, even among the limited-service restaurants.”

In a few cities, such as Philadelphia, mayors and city councils have gotten around the state pre-emption laws by targeting higher minimum wage measures more narrowly to cover just city employees and city contractors. This has also happened in less urban areas such as Buncombe County and Durham County in North Carolina.

 Companies Leapfrog Congress, Raise Minimum Pay 

Under pressure from labor protests and a tightening labor market, major corporations are leapfrogging far ahead of Congress. Target just became the first national retailer to commit to a $15 an hour minimum wage (in 2020), starting with a boost to $11 this holiday season for 100,000  seasonal workers along with its 338,000 regular employees. Big box retailer Coscto is bumping up its minimum to $13.

Target has pledged to pay its workers $15 an hour by 2020, starting with a boost to $11 in the 2017 holiday season. Image, (CC) Stephen Downes.

The upward wage push in retailing started in 2014 and 2015 when Target, Gap, Wal-Mart, Ikea, and Marshall’s pushed their wage floors to $9 or $10 an hour, and Costco went to $11.50. Some financial companies went further. Aetna boosted entry-level pay from $12 to $16 in early 2015 and JP Morgan Chase went to $16.50 an hour. Explaining Aetna’s 33% pay raise to its lowest paid customer-service agents and claims adjusters, CEO Mark Bertolini asserted: “For the good of the social order, these are the kinds of investments we should be willing to make.”

On that theme, Seattle Billionaire Nick Hanauer, in an online message to “My Fellow Plutocrats,” argues that America’s sharp political divisions will not ease until more CEOs raise rank-and-file pay. “Our country will not get better until our fellow citizens feel better, and they will not feel better until they actually do better,” Hanauer writes. “This is the stark, simple fact at the heart of our ailing political system. Nothing is going to get better until we enact laws and standards that persuade or oblige every business to pay every worker a fair, dignified and livable wage.”

Obama Boosted Contractor Wages, Overtime Pay

Before leaving office, President Obama – blocked by Republicans in Congress from raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, established the $10.10 minimum for federal government contractors by executive order. Administration economists said that move boosted the pay of roughly 560,000 employees of companies working under federal contracts.

In another executive action, the Obama Administration qualified 13.5 million more Americans for time-and-half overtime pay by expanding the salary levels covered by overtime rules. In May 2016, the Labor Department ordered that employees working more than 40 hours a week were entitled to overtime pay if their annual salary is under $47,476. The previous cutoff for overtime pay, set in 2004, was $23,650.

Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden defended the new threshold as a long overdue catch-up with inflation that had deprived millions of American workers of eligibility for overtime pay. “The middle class is getting clobbered,” Biden asserted. “If you work overtime, you should actually get paid for working overtime.”

But overtime pay has become a sharp partisan issue. Republicans on Capitol Hill and the Trump Administration charge that Obama’s expansion of overtime eligibility not only costs employers billions of dollars but could lead to layoffs or cutbacks in work-time. Trump’s Labor Department has put a freeze on implementing the Obama rule while talking about revising or canceling it.

 



Living Wage Calculator:

Is your state’s minimum wage enough for an average family to live on? Find out how wages in your state and hometown stack up against the cost of living in your area by visiting the Living Wage Calculator from MIT.

State by State Rundown:

You can check our state-by-state rundown from the National Conference of State Legislatures and find out where your state stands.

Alabama:

  • No state minimum wage law.
  • Aug. 18,2015- Birmingham City Council votes to raise minimum wage from federal level of $7.25 to $8.50 by July 2016 and $10.10 in July 2017.  Move would make Birmingham first city in southeast to lift its wage floor above federal level. “We can’t have a progressive city and low-wage jobs,” says Councilwoman Lashunda Scales, one of seven council members who backed the increase.
  • BirminghamWages

    image courtesy of AL.com

    Feb. 9, 2016 – Birmingham City Council votes to speed up city’s proposed $10.10 minimum wage to take effect on March 1. City is racing to get ahead of action by Republicans in Alabama legislature who are pushing to adopt a measure that would block Birmingham’s minimum wage increase and bar any other Alabama city or county from raising the local minimum wage.

  • Feb. 25, 2016 – Within an hour of fast-track votes in the Alabama legislature, Gov. Robert Bentley signs a bill blocking Birmingham’s minimum wage increase and bars any other localities from setting wage minimums, as news is breaking that Governor has quietly given $73,000 pay increases to four members of his cabinet and approved very handsome pay hikes for 29 members of his staff.
  • April 28, 2016 – Civil rights groups and fast-food workers in Birmingham file a federal lawsuit against Republican Governor Robert Bentley claiming that an Alabama law prohibiting cities from raising their minimum wages is racially discriminatory against predominantly black communities. The lawsuit, filed by the Alabama NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries and several workers, says Alabama’s new law is tainted by “racial animus” and violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. The city council in Birmingham, where three quarters of the 210,000 residents are black, had passed an ordinance raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, but the Republican-led state legislature rushed through a pre-emptive law to block the Birmingham ordinance from taking effect and deterring other Alabama cities from taking similar action.

 

Alaska:

  • In 1959, Alaska sets its minimum wage at 50-cents above the federal level, which originally gives it the nation’s highest minimum wage. Alaska’s minimum wage today is still 50-cents above the $7.25 federal minimum, but Alaska’s level has fallen to 19th among the states.
  • Nov. 4, 2014 – Alaska voters approve Ballot Measure 3, which raises the minimum wage from $7.75 to $8.75 on Jan. 1, 2015; to $9.75 on Jan. 1, 2016; and from then on be adjusted for inflation or remain $1 higher than the federal minimum wage, whichever level is higher.

 

Arizona:

  • Jan. 1, 2014 – Arizona’s minimum wage hits $7.90 an hour, based on a referendum on Nov. 7, 2006, when Arizona voters approved a boost in the state’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.75 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2007, lifting it above the federal level. Since then, Arizona’s minimum has been automatically adjusted each January 1, based on the federal consumer price index (CPI).
  • Jan 1, 2016 – State minimum reaches $8.05 on automatic escalator.
  • Nov. 8, 2016 – By a 58.9% majority, Arizona voters pass a referendum measure to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 with annual cost of living increases thereafter.

 

Arkansas:

  • Nov. 4, 2014 – Arkansas voters approve a minimum wage increase from $6.25 to $7.50 an hour on January 1, 2015, to $8 an hour on January 1, 2016 and to $8.50 an hour on January 1, 2017.
  • April 10, 2006 – Mike Huckabee signs into law an increase in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 an hour. That minimum still applies to businesses that do not engage in inter-state commerce; otherwise, Arkansas follows the federal minimum.

 

California:

  • July 1, 2014 – California’s state minimum wage rises to $9.00 per hour and automatically rises to $10.00 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2016, under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2013. The measure increases pay for about 3.3 million workers, or 8 percent of California’s workforce. For California taxpayers, one benefit is that Medical, the state’s Medicaid program, is expected to save an estimated $564 million from 2015 to 2017 because many workers, at higher minimum wages, would no longer qualify for Medical.
  • Nov. 4, 2014 – San Francisco voters approve an incremental wage increase from $10.74 to $12.25 an hour on May 1, 2015, to $13 in July 2016, $14 in 2017 and $15 in 2018. Subsequently the wage will be indexed to the consumer price index. All San Francisco employers will have to comply regardless of business size and will get no financial offset for providing sick pay or healthcare benefits.
  • Nov. 4, 2014 – Oakland voters approve a minimum wage increase from $9.00 to $12.25 an hour in March 2015.
  • July 15, 2014 – San Diego City Council votes 6-3 to raise the city’s minimum wage $11.50 an hour by 2017. City Council President Todd Gloria and a coalition of progressive groups had pushed for a higher minimum of $13.09 an hour. With several business groups opposed, Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoes the measure but is overridden by 6-2 vote in City Council. San Diego Small Business Coalition circulates petition seeking popular vote and the issue is put on the ballot for November 2016.
  • Jan. 1, 2014 – San Jose’s minimum wage rises to $10.15 an hour, under ballot measure passed by popular referendum on Nov. 6, 2012 that hiked city’s minimum from $8 in 2012 to current $10.15 level. Despite initial fears of job loss, the unemployment rate in the San Jose metro area actually falls from 7.4% in March 2013 to 5.4% by mid-2014. The San Jose Downtown Association reports that even with the minimum wage rising over an 18-month period, the number of restaurants in the downtown area increased by 20%.
  • Sept. 24, 2014 – Los Angeles City Council votes 12 to 3 to increase the minimum wage for hotel workers in the city from an average of nearly $10 an hour to $15.37 an hour. Beginning in July 2015, the increase will go into effect for hotels with at least 300 rooms—expanding to hotels with at least 150 rooms by 2016. The measure is expected to cover at least 40 hotels and, depending on the analysis, anywhere from 5,300 to 13,500 workers.
  • May 19, 2015 – Los Angeles becomes nation’s largest city to increase its minimum wage from $9 an hour to $15 by 2020, when City Council votes 14-1 vote in favor of $15 minimum. Measure is expected to affect almost 50% of LA City work force of 800,000 and put pressure on LA County to follow suit. Wages will go up in steps over five years – to $10.50 in July 2016, $12 in 20917, $13 in 2018 and $14.25 in 2019, to reach $15 in 2010. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees will have an extra year to carry out plan. Starting in 2022, annual increases will be based on Consumer Price Index average of last 20 years. Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, had proposed somewhat smaller increase last fall but said he would sign the wage hike bill. “We’re leading the country. We’re not going to wait for Washington to lift Americans out of poverty,” Garcetti told The New York Times. “We have too many adults struggling to be living off a poverty wage. This will re-establish some of the equilibrium we’ve had in the past.”
  • Oct. 10, 2013 – As a sovereign government with jurisdiction over the reservation, Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians raises the minimum wage for tribal employees to $10.60 an hour, beginning 2014. Jackson Rancheria, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is the largest employer in Amador County, where the wage increase is expected to impact more than 1,100 employees.
  • Feb. 23, 2014 – Gap Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, announces increase in minimum wage for 65,000 employees nationwide to $9 an hour in 2014 and $10 in 2015. CEO Glenn Murphy says higher minimum pay boosts employee morale, reduces labor turnover, delivers better service for customers, and more corporate profits over the long run. “To us, this is not a political issue,” Murphy asserts. “Our decision to invest in front-line employees will directly support our business, and is one that we expect to deliver a return many times over.”
  • Gov. Jerry Brown announces wage deal.

    Gov. Jerry Brown announces wage deal.

    Mar 31, 2016 – California becomes first state to adopt $15 minimum wage. In a straight party-line vote, Democratic majorities in state legislature pass bill to raise minimum wage from current $10 to $15 an hour by 2022. Vote was 48-26 in state assembly and 26-12 in the senate. Gov. Jerry Brown pushed the action to head off a pending ballot initiative sponsored by the Service Employees International Union that would have raised the wage floor more rapidly. Under new law, minimum wages rises in steps – to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2017; to $11 on Jan. 1, 2018, and $1 more each year after that. When $15  minimum is reached, California level would be more than double federal level of $7.25 an hour, and higher than current world leaders, France and Australia. Supporters say move will reduce poverty, help struggling families and reduce California’s steep income inequality. Opponents warn that the big wage boost will backfire causing layoffs and pushing some employers to leave the state.

 

Colorado:

 

Connecticut:

  • Since 1978, Connecticut state law requires the minimum wage to be 0.5% above federal minimum wage. The 1998 Connecticut General Assembly meets that requirement by raising the state’s minimum wage to $5.65 on Jan. 1, 1999 and to on Jan 1, 2000. Other raises have continued since then.
  • March 26, 2014 – Connecticut legislature approves a plan to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017, matching President Obama’s proposal. Current $9 minimum is hiked to $9.15 on Jan. 1, 2015 and 9.60 on Jan.1, 2016. Bill passes the Democratic-controlled legislature with solid majorities on a largely party line vote.

 

Delaware:

  • Jan, 30, 2014 – Gov. Jack Markell signs SB 6 into law, raising the minimum wage to $8.25 per hour in two increments – to $7.75 on June 1, 2014 and to $8.25 by June 1, 2015. The Delaware Department of Labor estimates that the increase will either directly or indirectly affect up to 40,000 people, nearly 10% of Delaware’s workers.

 

District of Columbia:

  • Jan. 1, 2014 – Mayor Vincent Gray signs the Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013, unanimously passed by the D.C. Council more than three months earlier. The law raises DC’s minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.50 an hour on July 1, 2014 for all workers, regardless of employer size; to $10.50 on July 1, 2015 and $11.50 on July 1, 2016. After that, it will adjust annually based on the increase in the Washington metropolitan consumer price index.
  • June 7, 2016- DC council votes unanimously to raise hourly minimum wage to $15 over four-year period, expected to mean a raise for 70,000 janitors, parking attendants, dishwashers and retail workers. and probably put upward pressure on wages of 44,000 more workers paid slightly above new minimum. DC has greatest income disparity between top earners and lowest paid compared to any of 50 states.  Some business groups begrudgingly said they would accept higher minimum but House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said the city’s decision would “actually do more harm than good in so many instances, because what it does is it prices entry-level jobs away from people.” DC competes with suburban Virginia, across Potomac River, where the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour has been unchanged in seven years.

 

Florida:

  • Jan. 1, 2014 – State minimum wage increases to $7.93 an hour, based on the voter-approved 2004 Florida Minimum Wage Amendment, which had set the minimum wage at $6.15 per hour, $1 above the then-federal minimum, and indexes it yearly to the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers. As of Jan. 1, 2017, is is set at $8.10.

 

Georgia:

  • 2002 – Georgia General Assembly increases minimum wage from $3.25 to $5.15 an hour. The state minimum still applies to businesses that do not engage in inter-state commerce; otherwise the federal minimum wage is used.

 

Hawaii:

  • May 23, 2014 – Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs SB 2609, which incrementally increases the state’s minimum wage rate over the next four years, from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, beginning Jan.1. 2015, then to $8.50 in 2016, $9.25 in 2017, and $10.10 in 2018.
  • Hawaii’s Department of Labor reports that previous minimum wage increases have expanded jobs and business. “The last four times the minimum wage was increased, the number of businesses went up by an average of 2.4 percent and the number of jobs increased an average of 2.1 percent 12 months later,” said Dwight Takamine, Director of Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

 

Idaho:

  • State minimum wage matches federal minimum.
  • May 2014 – The Idaho Minimum Wage Initiative, which would have increased the minimum wage from $7.25 to 9.50 an hour by 2017, does not get enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. ballot.

 

Illinois:

  • 2004 – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich first increases Illinois’ minimum wage from the federal level of $5.15 to $5.50 an hour. Illinois’ minimum wage has since remained above the federal minimum wage.
  • Nov. 4, 2014 – Illinois voters approve a non-binding advisory measure that would raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10 an hour by Jan. 1, 2015.
  • Feb. 6, 2015 – Democratic-controlled Illinois Senate votes 35-18 to raise the state’s minimum wage to $9 per hour in 2015 and to $11 by 2019, snubbing a smaller wage hike plan floated by the state’s new Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. The bill was sent to the lower house, also controlled by Democrats.  But no final action is taken, leaving state minimum at $8.25 per hour, in January 2016.
  • Dec. 2, 2014 – Chicago City Council approves an ordinance that raises the minimum wage from $8.25 to $13 an hour over four years, affecting about 400,000 workers in the city. The plan, originally proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would raise the minimum to $10 an hour in 2015, followed by increases to $10.50 in 2016, $11 in 2017, $12 in 2018 and $13 in 2019.

 

Indiana:

  • State minimum wage matches federal minimum.
  • April 10, 2014 – Indiana University increase the minimum wage of university employees from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour, effective July 1. The increase will result in pay raises for approximately 8,750 IU employees across the state.

 

Iowa:

  • State minimum wage matches federal minimum.

 

Kansas:

  • State minimum wage matches federal minimum.
  • Jan. 7, 2015 – Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, introduces Kansas Working Families Pay Raise Act to set state’s minimum wage st $8.25 an hour on July 1, rising to $10.24 an hour in 2017.  Bill is referred to committee. No action taken.

Kentucky:

  • State minimum wage matches federal minimum.
  • Aug. 4, 2014 – Raymond Burse, interim president of Kentucky State University, announces he will give up $90,000 of his $350,000 salary so that 24 low-wage workers on campus can earn $10.25 an hour. Many of the workers including custodians, grounds keepers, and clerical staff were earning the federal $7.25 minimum wage.
  • Jan. 6, 2015 – Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signs a scaled down version of a Metro Council minimum wage increase proposed last September. This action increases city’s minimum wage to $7.75 by July 1, 2015, to $8.25 by July 2016 and $9 by July 2017, and ties future increases to the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for urban cities in the region.
  • June 8, 2015 – Gov. Steven L. Beshear signs executive order raising minimum wage for about 800 state employees to $10.10 an hour from current $7.25, effective July 1. Employees most likely to see biggest increases, governor’s office reports, are those working in veterans nursing homes, behavioral health facilities and state parks as well as employees of private companies working on state contracts. Overall, Kentucky has 32,827 state employees.

 

Louisiana:

  • No state minimum wage law.
  • April 10, 2014 – House labor committee votes 10-6 against a measure to raise minimum wage in Louisiana from federal rate of $7.25 to $8.25 an hour and to permit local governments to set their own minimums.

 

Maine:

 

Maryland:

  • May 5, 2014 – Gov. Martin O’Malley signs legislation that will gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018, with step one from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 on Jan. 1, 2015, then two 50-cent-an-hour increases on July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017, and a fourth step up to $10.10 on July 1, 2018.
  • Nov. 2013 – In parallel actions of neighboring counties to maintain common wage policies, Montgomery County Council and Prince George County Council approve hikes in their wage floors to $11.50 per hour by 2017. The minimums rise to $8.40 an hour in Oct. 2014, $9.55 in Oct. 2015, $10.75 in Oct. 2016 and $11.50 in Oct. 2017.

 

Massachusetts:

  • June 26, 2014 – Gov. Deval Patrick signs a minimum wage increase, raising the state’s $8 per hour wage floor to $11 per hour by 2017. The measure, not indexed to inflation, increases the wage floor to $9 per hour in 2015, $10 in 2016, and $11 in 2017. In return for muting their opposition, business groups negotiate for lower unemployment insurance taxes and expanded business tax breaks for research and development.

 

Michigan:

  • March 28, 2006 – Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) signs legislation to increase Michigan’s minimum wage from the then-federal minimum of $5.15 to $7.40 in three steps from Oct. 2006 to July 1, 2008.
  • May 27, 2014 – In a surprise switch, Michigan becomes the first state with a Republican-controlled legislature and a GOP governor to raise its minimum wage in 2014. Gov. Rick Snyder, facing re-election in November, quickly signs bill lifting the state’s minimum wage by 25 percent, rising with annual increases from $7.40 an hour to $9.25 an hour by 2017. Republican legislators, previously gun-shy on the wage issue, come under public pressure from Raise—a coalition of civil rights, faith, labor and community groups that mount a petition drive to put a $10.10 minimum wage on the Nov. 2014 ballot. Republicans outflank the petition drive by enacting more modest and gradual wage increases by solid majorities in both houses of legislature.

 

Minnesota:

  • Jan 1, 201 7- State minimum wage rises to $9.50 an hour for large employers and $7.75 for small employers, under plan adopted in 2014. Annual increases indexed to inflation in cost of living begin on Jan 1, 2018.
  • April 10, 2014 – State legislators approve a minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $8.00 per hour in Aug. 2014 to $9 in Aug. 2015 and $9.50 in Aug. 2016 – but only for businesses with gross sales of at least $500,000. Smaller employers, exempt from certain federal labor laws, have lower minimum targets of $6.50 hourly in Aug. 2014, $7.25 in 2015, and $7.75 in 2016. After 2016, the state minimum would be tied to an inflation index, with 2.5% cap on any annual increase. Larger businesses can pay lower temporary minimums for trainees or worker under the age of 18.

 

Mississippi:

  • No state minimum wage law.
  • March 25, 2013 – Gov. Phil Bryant approves HB 141, which prohibits counties and municipalities from establishing mandatory minimum wages.

 

Missouri:

  • Jan. 1, 2014 – State minimum wage hits $7.50 an hour, based on the 2006 Missouri Minimum Wage Act—a ballot initiative that initially increased the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.50 an hour and adjusts it annually based on changes to the CPI.
  • March 12, 2014 – State Senate committee advances SB 531, sponsored by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D) of St. Louis, to raise Missouri’s minimum wage from $7.50 to $10 an hour in 2015. SB 531 would continue to be adjusted annually for inflation. Legislative action has not been completed.
  • July 16, 2015 – Kansas City Council passes a measure setting minimum wage of $8.50 an hour with annual increases reaching $13 an hour by 2020.
  • Aug. 28, 2015 – Business owners opposed to raising minimum wage in Kansas City gathered enough signatures to put the issue on ballot in November 2015 election. New city minimum wage was to have taken effect by August 28, but this was suspended until referendum vote in November.
  • Aug. 28, 2015 – St. Louis aldermen pass ordinance to raise city’s minimum wage to $8.25 in October and in steps to $11 by 2018.  Mayor Francis Slay signs bill into law within an hour of passage. Hasty action is taken to get ahead of possible preemptive action by the state legislature.
  • Sept. 16, 2015 – Missouri legislature, with a pro-business Republican majority,  overrides Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that bars any political subdivision of the state to enact a minimum wage differing from state or federal requirements. However, this law exempts any jurisdiction that had a different minimum wage in effect on August 28, 2015, prior to passage of the nullifying legislation.

 

Montana:

  • Jan. 1, 2014 – Montana state minimum wage rises from $7.80 to $7.90 an hour, based on referendum passed by voters on Nov. 7, 2006. That popular vote sets the state’s minimum wage at $6.15 an hour ( $1 above federal level in 2006) and requires annual cost-of-living increases based on the Consumer Price Index. In 2017, minimum rises to $8.15 an hour.

 

Nebraska:

  • Nov. 4, 2014 – Nebraska voters approve a minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $8 an hour in 2015 and to $9 an hour in 2016.

 

Nevada:

  • Jan. 1, 2014 – Minimum wage increases from $7.80 to $7.90 an hour, based on annual cost of living adjustments to minimum wage established November 2006 in ballot initiative passed by voters, approving an increase in state minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.15 an hour for employers that do not otherwise offer health insurance to employees at a total cost of no more than 10 percent of the employee’s gross taxable income. Nevada minimum races $8.25 in 2016.
  • Jan. 20, 2016 – A movement to raise minimum wage in Nevada to $13 an hour in 2024 clears important hurdle when judge rejects lawsuit by business interests charging that ballot proposal is improperly drawn. Committee to Raise Minimum wage in Nevada must gather 55,000 signatures to put on the ballot this year a measure that would bump Nevada’s $8.25 minimum to $9.25 in late 2018 and raise it another 75-cents per year until it hits $13 in 2024.
  • Nov 8, 2016 – initiative for hiking Nevada’s minimum wage fails to qualify for popular referendum.

 

New Hampshire:

  • June 23, 2011 – State legislature overrides veto by Democratic Gov. John Lynch to enact new law that abolishes the previous minimum wage, which had been set above the federal level, and automatically ties New Hampshire to the federal minimum.
  • May 8, 2014 – By a vote of 13-11, the Republican-controlled Senate defeats a bill that would have raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour and tied it to inflation.


 

New Jersey:

  • Nov. 5, 2013 – New Jersey voters approve a ballot question that raises the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour in Jan. 2014 and amends the state Constitution to tie future increases to inflation. The amendment passes with nearly 61 percent in favor. State minimum raises automatically through inflation adjustment to $8.38 in 2016.
  • Gov. Chris Christie (CC) Michael Vadon and New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (CC) Suitemikey

    Gov. Chris Christie (CC) Michael Vadon clashes with New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (CC) Suitemikey over bill to raise state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2021.

    With 21-18 vote, Democratic majority of New Jersey Senate passes bill to raise state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021 and sends measure, already passed by state house, to Governor Chris Christie. If Christie vetoes bill, as expected, Democratic leaders in legislature plan to submit $15 minimum wage to a statewide popular referendum in November 2017.

  • Aug 30, 2016 – Gov Chris Christie vetoes bill to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 an hour in stair steps over five years. Christie denounces measure, parallel to laws passed by New York and California, as a “really radical increase” that would “trigger an escalation of wages that will make doing business in New Jersey unaffordable.” Legislature’s Democratic leaders, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and State Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, immediately declare that they will introduce a ballot measure to seek a popular referendum in 2017 on whether to amend state constitution to lift the minimum wage to $15 by 2021. Sweeney, who is expected to run for governor in 2017, says public support for $15 minimum wage is so strong that he predicts a referendum will pass easily.
  • Jan 1, 2017 – Under cost of living in crease of 6 cents, minimum wage in New Jersey rises to $8.44 per hour.

New Mexico:

  • Jan. 1, 2009 – New Mexico Minimum Wage Act passed by legislature increases the minimum wage from $6.50 to $7.50 an hour.
  • Feb. 2003 – Santa Fe voters approve the Living Wage Ordinance, increasing the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour for all businesses and nonprofit organizations with 25 or more employees, effective Jan. 1, 2004. The wage rises to $9.50 per hour in 2006 and $10.50 per hour in 2008. After lawsuit by the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce and New Mexicans for Free Enterprise, the New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Santa Fe’s legislation, saying such power was granted to cities by state law.
  • Nov. 6, 2012 – Albuquerque voters approve a ballot proposal that raises the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour in Jan. 2013, and will automatically adjust with the rising cost of living—estimated to affect 40,000 workers.
  • June 2, 2014 –Las Cruces City Council votes 4-3 to raise the minimum wage from New Mexico’s $7.50 an hour to $8 an hour in July 2015 and $8.50 in Jan. 2016.

 

New York:

  • CuomoMinWageCrowd

    New Yorkers cheering Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for a statewide $15 minimum wage. pic. ofc. govcuomo.

    March 2013 – In passing the state budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour over three years – $8.00 by the end of 2013, $8.75 by the end of 2014, and $9.00 by the end of 2015.

  • Nov. 2015 – Governor Cuomo sets minimum wage for state employees on escalator raises to $15 an hour by end of 2018 for those who work in New York City, and by July 2021 throughout the state.
  • Jan 4, 2016 – Gov. Cuomo announces push to make New York the first state to adopt a $15 statewide minimum  wage.  “The truth is today’s minimum wage still leaves far too many people behind – unacceptably condemning them to a life of poverty even while they work full-time,” Cuomo declares in his annual state address.  For starters, Cuomo says the SUNY system (regional branches of the State University of New York) will raise the minimum wage of 28,000 employes from $9.75 to $15 an hour by the end of 2018 in New York City and statewide by mid-2021.
  • Jan 5, 2016 – In a surprising move, the leader of retail business owners group backs Cuomo’s push on $15 minimum wage. Even though hotel groups and nonprofit organizations oppose a $15 minimum, Ted Potrikus, President and CEO of Retail Council of New York, whose members employ 310,000 retail workers in New York State, joins Cuomo’s push.
  • Mar 31, 2016- Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders reach budget agreement that includes minimum wage hike in New York City to $15 by end of 2018 for fast food industry and larger employers. Small employers (fewer than 10 employees) will rise to $13.50 minimum in that period. New York’s action comes hard on the heels of California’s adoption of $15 statewide minimum wage by 2022. Not only New York City but Long Island and Westchester County suburbs will hit the $15 target by Dec. 31, 2021, ahead of California. Elsewhere a hodgepodge of minimum wages will gradually take effect. Upstate, the minimum wage for fast food workers will rise to $15 an hour by the end of 2021, but in other jobs the upstate minimum will be $12.50 by Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Jan 1, 2017 – New York’s minimum age rises to $9.40 an hour.

 

North Carolina:

  • State minimum wage matches federal minimum.
  • Sept. 4, 2012 – Buncombe County Commission passes a resolution to give full and part time county employees a living wage of $11.85 an hour, or, if employee gets health insurance, $10.35 an hour. Cities of Asheville and Durham and Durham County havbe also adopted living wage policy for public sector employees. State law bars local jurisdictions from setting local minimums for private sector, but lets local governments set minimums for their own employees and contractors.

 

North Dakota:

  • State minimum wage matches federal minimum.

 

Ohio:

  • Jan. 1, 2014, Ohio minimum wage hits $7.95 an hour, based on referendum in Nov. 2006, when Ohio electorate voted to amend the State Constitution to enact a minimum wage of $5.15 to $6.85 an hour with annual adjustments to match increases in the cost of living, hitting $8.15 an hour in 2017.

 

Oklahoma:

  • State minimum wage matches federal minimum.
  • Feb. 24, 2014 – Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker signs an executive order that increases the minimum wage for 400 tribal employees from $9 to $9.50 an hour over the next two years, starting in October.
  • April 18, 2014 – Gov. Mary Fallin signs a bill that prohibits local governments from boosting their minimum wages.

 

Oregon:

  • Feb. 18, 2015 –Portland City Council votes unanimously to raise minimum wage to $15 for full-time city employees and employees of city contractors, but not covering part-time or seasonal workers. City action comes as Oregon state legislature considers $15 an hour statewide minimum.
  • Jan. 1, 2014 – Oregon’s minimum wage, linked to inflation, increases to $9.10 per hour, based on Ballot Measure 25, enacted by Oregon voters in 2002, requiring annual cost of living adjustments (CPI-U). Minimum reaches $10.25 in 2017.

 

Pennsylvania:

  • State minimum wage follows federal minimum.
  • May 6, 2014 – Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter signs executive order mandating that city contractors pay minimum wage of $12 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2015. State law gives municipalities authority to set minimum wages for city employees and contractors though it bars local jurisdictions form setting braod minimums for private sector.
  • June 26, 2014 – IKEA US, based in Conshohocken, PA announces plans to increase average minimum wage for its US retail co-workers by $1.59 to $10.76 an hour on Jan 1, 2015.  IKEA says each of its 38 U.S. stores will base their entry-level pay on the MIT Living Wage Calculator,which estimates wages required “to meet minimum standards of living” in each county of each state. The increase will affect roughly 5,500 employees—roughly half of IKEA’s retail workers in U.S.

 

Rhode Island:

  • July 3, 2014 – Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) signs a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage by $1, to $9 an hour, the third increase in three years. In order to win passage, proponents had to drop a provision to index the minimum wage to inflation.
  • June 5, 2014 –State House Finance Committee passes an amendment to state budget prohibiting municipalities in Rhode Island from establishing their own minimum-wage laws.
  • June 25, 2015 – Gov. Gina Raymond signs bill increasing state minimum wage to $9.60, effect Jan. 1, 2016.

 

South Carolina:

  • No state minimum wage law.

 

South Dakota:

  • Nov. 4, 2014 – South Dakotan voters approve a ballot measure that raises the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour, with cost of living adjustments from then on. Minimum reaches $8.65 in 2017.

 

Tennessee:

  • No state minimum wage law.

 

Texas:

  • State’s minimum wage matches federal minimum.

 

Utah:

  • State’s minimum wage matches federal minimum.
  • March 3, 2014 – Utah’s house of representatives votes down bill that would move Utah’s effective minimum wage from federal level of $7.25 an hour to $10.25 an hour on July 14, 2014. Utah has a pre-emptive law that prohibits any locality within the state from adopting a minimum wage ordinance.

 

Vermont:

  • June 10, 2014 – Gov. Peter Shumlin signs bill mandating increases in Vermont’s minimum wage every January for the next four years to achieve a wage of $10.50 an hour by 2018, speeding up rise in previous legal minimums. In 2018, further increases will be indexed to consumer price index, with a cap of 5% on annual increases. Starting in Jan. 2015, the new law requires that tipped employees, such as waiters and waitresses, be paid a wage equal to half the regular minimum – $4.58 an hour up in 2015, up from 2014 level of $4.23 an hour.
  • Jan 1, 2017 – Vermont;s minimum wage rose to 10 per hour.
  • Ben & Jerry’s, based in Burlington adopts policy of paying a livable wage, recalculated yearly to keep up with actual cost of living in Vermont. In 2013, minimum wage was set at $16.13 an hour.

 

Virginia:

  • State’s minimum wage matches federal minimum.
  • Feb. 16, 2014 – Virginia House of Delegates committee kills a bill proposing to move Virginia from federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $9.25 by 2015.

 

Washington:

  • Nov. 3, 1998 – Washington voters endorse the state’s Minimum Wage Initiative 688, increasing the minimum from $4.90 to $5.70 per hour in 1999 and to $6.50 in 2000 (federal minimum was $5.15), and thereafter annually adjusting the state’s minimum wage for inflation. This escalator process, using the federal Consumer Price Index, automatically boosts Washington State’s minimum to $9.47 per hour in 2016. It requires employers pay restaurant workers the full state minimum wage before tips, in contrast to federal law which sets a minimum of $2.13 per hour for workers earning tips, assuming that tips bring them up to the standard federal minimum of $7.25.
  • Nov. 5, 2013 – Voters in SeaTac, a small city surrounding the Seattle-Tacoma airport, narrowly pass a ballot initiative raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour – highest in the nation. New law also requires employers to provide paid sick leave for all employees and give priority to part-time employees when adding to their full-time workforce. The citizens initiative, which wins by a slim 77-vote margin, was launched by Yes for SeaTac, a diverse coalition including SeaTac Faith Action Network, Puget Sound Page community organizing group, four major trade unions, the Somali Youth & Family Club, and local business owners and elected officials. On Jan 1, 2014, the initiative takes effect for about 1,600 van drivers, hotel, restaurant, and other employees working outside the airport. But law is immediately challenged in court by Alaska Airlines and other employers, contending that the SeaTac city ordinance should not apply on the territory of the airport, which operates under the Seattle Port Authority. So SeaTac city ordinance does not take effect for the core worker group – about 4,000 workers inside the SeaTac airport.
  • June 2, 2014 – Seattle City Council approves a stair-step increase in the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2017 for large employers and by 2021 for small businesses. After winning office in 2013 advocating a $15 minimum, Mayor Ed Murray convenes an “Income Inequality Advisory Committee” co-chaired by business leader Howard Wright and union leader David Rolf. The task force crafts a complex formula to phase-in the $15 minimum. Businesses with more than 500 employees are mandated to pay $11 per hour by April 2015 rising incrementally to $15 by 2017. (Employers providing health benefits get until 2018 to reach $15.) Employers with fewer than 500 employees are given until 2021 to reach $15. From then on, the city’s minimum is indexed to inflation. Restaurants are initially allowed to count tip earnings in hitting the minimum, but that provision is phased out by 2021.
  • Jan 1, 2015 – Automatic cost-of-living increase raises minimum wage to $15.24 in town of SeaTac under voter initiative passed in November 2013.
  • April 2015 – Costco, one of the most successful retailers in the country which is headquartered in Issaquah, Wa., has a starting wage of $11.50 an hour for most entry-level jobs, and an average wage for hourly workers of $21 an hour. Costco operates 468 locations in the US, employing 126,929 workers nationwide.
  • Aug. 20, 2015 – Washington State Supreme Court, rejecting arguments by Alaska Airlines and other employers at SeaTac airport. rules that town ordinance passed in 2013 must apply to 4,700 airport workers and they are entitled to pay raises retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014. But before airport workers can benefit from ruling, Alaska Airlines and other businesses file another appeal. Finally, on Nov. 30, 2015, Supreme Court rejects corporate lawsuit, clearing the way for 4,700 airport workers to receive windfall payment of several thousand dollars apiece in back pay raises.

 

West Virginia:

  • April 3, 2014 – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signs a bill raising the minimum wage from the federal level of $7.25 an hour to $8 at the start of 2015 and to $8.75 in 2016. The new state minimums give pay raises to 127,000 West Virginians, according to Allison Clements of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

 

Wisconsin:

  • State’s minimum wage matches federal minimum.
  • July 22, 2014 – Milwaukee Common Council adopts a living wage ordinance, raising the minimum wage from $9.51 (the poverty guideline for a family of three) to $10.10 an hour for all city employees and city service contractors. The wage increases to $10.80 an hour on March 1, 2015.

 

Wyoming:

  • 2001 – Through legislative action, Wyoming’s minimum wage is raised to $5.15/hour, a level that still applies to businesses that are exempt from the federal minimum wage. About one-third of Wyoming employees are not covered by the federal law.

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