States Pursue Minimum Wage Hikes

Fast-food workers and supporters demand higher wages during rally in New York. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

While Congress has stalled on adopting an increase in the federal minimum wage, steps are being taken across the country to boost the income of low-wage workers. From Massachusetts and Vermont to Washington State and California, state legislators and city councils have either implemented or are negotiating minimum wage hikes. Despite concern from opponents to any wage increase, most legislators have come to see that the likely benefit to workers outweighs the cost to businesses. President Obama, not waiting for Congress to act, followed through on his February executive order by announcing on June 12 rules for raising the wages of workers under federal contracts to a minimum of $10.10 per hour. Meanwhile, a new report from Oxfam America called for Congress to end the gridlock and adopt an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour, with an index to inflation. The legislative actions and new round of advocacy come with one basic message: Anyone who works full time should not live in poverty.

 

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