The new year is looking brighter for minimum-wage earners in 21 states. That’s because legislation passed in those states is set to take effect at the beginning of 2015. Many of those low-paid workers have movements to increase the minimum wage to thank for their coming raise.
According to USA Today, approximately 2.4 million workers will see their wages increased by as much as $1 an hour “to an average of $8 and a high of $9.15, according to the Economic Policy Institute.”
Meanwhile, President Obama’s plan to increase federal wages to a minimum of $10.10 an hour is languishing in Congress amid Republican opposition.
Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia passed legislation within the last two years to effect a wage increase. Nine other states will see increases as a result of standard cost-of-living raises.
The past year has seen a number of strikes protesting for fair pay and increased wages. The most notable of these protests may have been the fast food worker protests that spread across the nation.
While some businesses are threatening that wage increases will result in employers having to either layoff employees or restrict their hours, others are stating that the wage increases will have a strongly positive influence on hourly workers.
“It’s not going to bring them a life of luxury, but it’s a substantial amount of money for somebody struggling to get by,” EPI senior economic analyst David Cooper told USA Today. “They can make payment plans for a car or buy some extra groceries.”
|Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow him on Twitter @Joshual33.|