Minimum Wage Rises In 19 States But Only Some Win Fight For $15/Hour


It will be a happy New Year for millions of the lowest-paid workers across the United States as nineteen states ring in the new year with an increase in the minimum wage.

Massachusetts and Washington state will have the highest new minimum wages in the country, at $11 per hour, the Associated Press reported.

California will raise its wage to $10.50 for businesses with 26 or more employees. New York state is taking a regional approach, with the wage rising to $11 in New York City, to $10.50 for small businesses in the city, $10 in its downstate suburbs and $9.70 elsewhere. Some specific businesses — fast-food restaurants and the smallest New York City businesses — will have slightly different wage requirements.

“This $1.50 increase, I cannot even comprehend or tell you how important this will be,” said Alvin Major, a New York City fast-food worker. The 51-year-old father of four helped lead the fight for the increase in his state, one of several successful efforts by fast-food workers and other low wage workers around the country. “The price of food has gone up. Rent has gone up. Everything has gone up. … This will make a difference for so many people.”

Voters in Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington approved increases in this year’s election. Seven other states, Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota, are automatically raising the wage based on indexing. The other states seeing increases are Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan and Vermont.

Additional increases are slated for later in the year in Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

In Arizona, the state Chamber of Commerce and Industry filed a lawsuit challenging the increase, which will raise the minimum wage from $8.05 to $10. On Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court refused to temporarily block the raise.

Workers and labor advocates argue the increases will help low-wage workers now barely making ends meet and boost the economy by giving some consumers more money to spend. But many business owners opposed the higher wages, saying they would lead to higher prices and greater automation.

Some restaurant owners may consider reducing portion sizes or charging for side dishes that were once included in the price of a meal to absorb the increase, according to Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York State Restaurant Association.

“I’m sure prices will go up where they can, but restaurants want to avoid sticker shock,” she said. “They’re going to have to get creative.”

The adjustments in New York, California and several other states are part of a series of gradual increases to a $12 or $15 hourly wage.

The minimum wage will also go up this weekend in 22 cities and counties, including San Diego, San Jose and Seattle.

The high number of states and localities raising the wage this year reflects the successful work of fast-food workers and organized labor, according to Tsedeye Gebreselassie, senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project, as well as federal inaction on the wage. The national minimum was last raised, to $7.25, in 2009.

“These aren’t only teens trying to make some pocket money,” she said. “Increasingly it’s adults who are using this money to support their families.”

Minimum Wage Rates for 2017 Listed by State:

The following is a list of minimum wage rates for each state for 2017 announced, to date. The list also includes scheduled increases for future years.

A – L

Alabama: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage)
Alaska: $9.75(Indexed Annual increases will begin on January 1, 2017)
Arizona: $10.00 * ($10.00 to $12.00 in $0.50 Indexed Annual Increases between 1/1/2017 to 1/1/2020)
Arkansas: $8.50
California: $10.50  ($11.00 to $15.00 in $1.00 Indexed Annual Increases between 1/1/2018 to 1/1/2022)
– Emeryville: $12.25  for small businesses with 55 employees, $14.44 companies with more than 55 employers
– Los Angeles: $10.50 effective July 2016 with increases each year until it reaches $15 in 2020
  – Oakland: $12.25
  – Richmond: $12.30, and $13 in 2018 (with exceptions based on employer)
– San Diego: $11.50
  – San Francisco: $14.00 effective July 2017,  $15.00 effective July 2018
– San Jose: $10.30
Colorado: $9.30* ($9.30 to $12.00 in $0.90 Indexed Annual Increases between 1/1/2018 and 1/1/2020)
Connecticut: $10.10
Delaware: $8.25
District of Columbia: $11.50 ($0.75 Indexed Annual increases will begin on January 1, 2017)
Florida: $8.05*
$5.15 (if covered by Fair Labor Standards – $7.25)

H – M

Hawaii$9.25, $10.10 in 2018
Idaho: $7.25
Illinois: $8.25
– Chicago $11.00 July 2017, $12.00 July 2018, $13.00 July 2019
Indiana: $7.25
Iowa: $7.25
Kansas: $7.25
Kentucky: $7.25
– Louisville: $9.00 July 2017)
– Kentucky State Workers $10.10
Louisiana: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage)
Maine: $9.00 ($10.00 to $12.00 in $0.50 Indexed Annual Increases between 1/1/2017 to 1/1/2020)
Maryland$9.25 July 2017,  $10.10 July 2018
Massachusetts$11.00  ($3.75 for tipped employees), $16.50 per hour for working on a Sunday
Michigan$8.90, $9.25 by January 2018
Minnesota Large employers are required to pay workers $9.50/hour and small employers $7.75 (Indexed Annual increases will begin on January 1, 2018)
Missouri: $7.65 *
– St. Louis: $10, $11 by January 2018
Mississippi: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage)
Montana: $8.05 * Except $4.00 for businesses with gross annual sales of $110,000 or less

N – S

Nevada: $7.25 for employees who receive qualifying health benefits, $8.25 for employees who do not receive qualifying health benefits.*
New Hampshire: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage, as State Minimum wage was repealed in 2011)
New Jersey: $8.38*
New Mexico: $7.50
– Albuquerque: $8.75 ($7.75 with benefits)
New York: $11.00 by 12/31/2016, $13.00 by 12/31/2017, $15 by 12/31/2016  ($9.75 for fast food workers in NYS and $10.50 for fast food workers in NYC, with limitations)
– More information on New York minimum wage increases.
North Carolina: $7.25
North Dakota: $7.25
Ohio: $8.10* ($7:25 for employers grossing $283,000 or less)
Oklahoma: $7.25
Oregon: $9.75 (or higher based on county density) (From $10.25 to $13.50 in $0.50 intervals from 7/1/2017 to 7/1/2022)
Pennsylvania: $7.25
Puerto Rico: $7.25
Rhode Island: $9.60
South Carolina: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage)
South Dakota: $8.55 *

T – Z

Tennessee: $7.25 (Federal Minimum Wage)
Texas: $7.25
Utah: $7.25
Vermont$10, $10.50 by January 1, 2018 *
Virgin Islands: $7.25
Virginia: $7.25
Washington: $11.00* (From $11.00 to $13.50 in $0.50 intervals from 1/1/2017- 1/2/2020)
– Seattle: $15 (for businesses over 500 employees in 2017 and for all businesses by 2021
West Virginia$8.75
Wisconsin: $7.25
Wyoming: $7.25

Please NoteSome states, indicated by an asterisk, adjust their rate annually based on the cost of living. In those cases, the figure listed is an estimate pending that adjustment. In addition, some cities, counties, state governments, and companies have higher minimum wage rates than the state minimum.


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