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2016: The Year of the Increased Wage

11.8 million workers will receive raises through minimum wage increases adopted this year with unions in the blue states leading the way

Posted on
Dec 21, 2016

A roundup from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows that 21 states, cities and counties approved minimum wage increases in 2016. That includes seven states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Washington - that passed, via legislation or ballot initiative, hourly minimum wage increases up to $12 and $15. Fourteen cities and counties approved minimum wage hikes, too. It's a significant win for the SEIU-backed Fight for $15, and brings to 19 the total number of states and cities with $15 hourly minimums (the federal minimum wage is less than half that). NELP estimates that 11.8 million workers will receive raises through minimum increases adopted this year (largely due to raises in California and New York).

Looking to next year, 40 states, cities and counties will raise their minimum wages on New Year's Day (or New Year's Eve, in the case of New York). Later in the year, 19 more will raise their wage minimums, most in July but a few in March, April and October. Where's next? NELP points to ongoing campaigns to raise the hourly minimum to $15 in eight states: New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Cities and counties that may pass wage raises include Minneapolis, Baltimore, Montgomery County, Md., and Santa Clara, Calif. – briefing provided by Politico Morning Shift

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