The New Year will mean more money in the pockets of millions of U.S. employees.
Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has stalled at $7.25 an hour, but that’s about to change for 20 states.
According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a nonprofit pushing for better pay, the list includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York and Washington state. Each will eventually boost its minimum wages to at least $12 and as much as $15 an hour by phasing in the change. At least 13 counties and cities will notice the difference immediately on January 1, reaching or exceeding $15 an hour.
In a statement released last week, NELP executive director Christine Owens praised the increases, which she said were needed for hardworking Americans who “have little to show for it.”
“Working people are struggling to pay their bills, but they see that it’s the corporations and the wealthy CEOs who are getting the tax breaks,” Owens said. “It’s just not right. The American people believe in the value of work ― and that workers deserve to be valued.”
The news was an indication of serious progress since the inception of the Fight for $15 movement, which was launched in New York City in 2012 by fast food employees, retail workers and others. The initiative has now spread around the world, spanning 300 cities, per CBS News.
On Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a key proponent of the wage hikes, cited the Fight for $15 movement as a primary reason behind the upcoming raises: