President Obama first called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage nearly two years ago. While Congress hasn’t acted, there is plenty of good news: coast-to-coast grassroots progress has resulted in 17 states, plus the District of Columbia and several other localities, raising their minimum wages either through referendum or legislation since then.
Seven million Americans are set to get a raise from these actions. What’s more, the president — as part of his year of action — signed an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for federal contract workers.
And as we ring in the New Year, low-wage workers in a total of 20 states will benefit from minimum wage increases. Here’s an overview:
For the first time, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maryland, Nebraska, South Dakota and West Virginia will have minimum wage rates above the federal minimum of $7.25. That rate was last set more than five years ago and is not enough to help a full-time worker today pay for basics like food, housing and child care.
Although their minimum wage rates were already above the federal level, the state legislatures of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont decided in 2014 that their workers still needed a boost and took action.
Some increases are in accordance with states’ automatic adjusted requirements. On New Year’s Day, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Washington will see automatic increases to their minimum wages.
Altogether, 29 states and Washington, D.C. will have minimum wage rates above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as of Jan. 1, 2015. That’s real progress. Share this GIF to show others how the momentum to #RaiseTheWage has swept from coast to coast.