The Fight for $15 continued to accelerate in 2016 – just four years after it began – winning major minimum wage victories from coast to coast. The movement, led by fast-food and other low-wage workers, grew in scale and influence in 2016, with 25 states, cities and counties raising pay for 11.8 million workers. New campaigns seeking to raise pay for 8 million more workers in at least 13 states and cities are teed up for 2017 and 2018.
When combined with increases approved in recent years, on New Year’s Day 2017, workers in at least 41 states, cities and counties will receive raises – followed later in 2017 by raises for workers in another 21 states and cities. Below are highlights of 2016’s minimum wage wins and new campaigns moving forward in 2017 and 2018:
In 2016, a total of 25 states and localities approved minimum wage increases (see Table 1).
- 7 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, New York, Oregon and Washington) approved raising their minimum wages to between $12 and $15 per hour. Three of these states passed minimum wage increases through their state legislatures and four through ballot initiatives.
- 18 cities and counties approved minimum wage increases ranging from $10.10 to $15.
- This wave of action brings to 19 the total number of states and cities with $15 minimum wages, which will deliver large raises to as many as 1 in 3 workers.
- Some of the largest New Year’s Day raises will be in New York City, Arizona, Seattle (large employers not offering benefits), and the California cities of Cupertino, Los Altos, Mountain View, San Leandro, San Mateo and Sunnyvale, where workers will enjoy close to a $2.00 raise.
- 12 cities and counties adopted narrower minimum wage increases for city employees or employees of city contractors, ranging from $10.10 to $19 (see Table 2).
- Maine and Flagstaff, AZ, became the first jurisdictions in more than 30 years to eliminate the unfair subminimum wage for tipped workers, in a sign of the growing momentum of the “One Fair Wage” movement. Three other localities (Washington, DC, Cook County, IL, and Polk County, IA) also increased the tipped subminimum wage, though they fell short of One Fair Wage.
- An estimated 8 million workers will receive raises through minimum increases adopted in 2016, most of them stemming from minimum wages victories in California and New York.
On or about New Year’s Day, 41 states and localities will increase their minimum wages (Table 3).
- 18 states will raise their minimum wage on New Year’s Day, and one additional state (New York) will increase its minimum wage on New Year’s Eve. Of these:
- 6 (Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, New York and Washington) will implement the first step of their new minimum wage laws;
- 3 (Arkansas, Connecticut and Massachusetts) will finalize implementation;
- 3 (Hawaii, Michigan and Vermont) are in the midst of implementation; and
- 7 (Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota) will increase their minimum wages through indexing.
- 22 cities and counties will raise their wage floors on New Year’s Day:
- 5 will implement the first step of their new minimum wage ordinances;
- 3 will finalize implementation;
- 9 are in the midst of implementation; and
- 5 will increase their minimum wages through indexing.
Later in 2017, 21 additional states and cities will increase their minimum wages (Table 4). These include:
- 2 states (Maryland and Oregon), which are in the midst of implementation;
- 1 state (Nevada), which will increase its wage floor through indexing;
- 16 cities and counties that are taking the first, final or middle step in the implementation of their minimum wage laws; and
- 2 additional localities that are increasing their minimum wages through indexing.
At least 13 more states, cities and counties are launching or continuing campaigns for minimum wage increases of up to $15 over the next two years (Table 5). These include:
- 8 states (New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania) with $15 minimum wage campaigns;
- 4 localities (Minneapolis, Baltimore, Montgomery County, MD, and Santa Clara, CA) with $15 minimum wage campaigns; and
- 1 city (Washington, DC) with a One Fair Wage ballot campaign to gradually eliminate the unfair subminimum wage for tipped workers.
- If successful, these campaigns would raise pay for at least 8 million more workers.
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