In the wake of challenges faced by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, U.S. states and cities are taking matters into their own hands.
The minimum wage in New York state is currently $8.00 an hour. It will increase to $8.75 an hour on December 31st, 2014 and $9.00 on December 31, 2015. It has been reported that the New York City Council may seek to increase the minimum wage in New York City in the range of $13.00-15.00 an hour led by Speaker Mark-Viverito.
Politicians in New York State have similarly taken up the call to raise the minimum wage for New York workers. In mid-June 2014, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called upon state legislators to take up his proposed legislation, which would increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by December 31, 2015. The legislation would additionally permit cities and counties to enact legislation raising their own minimum wages by 30% above the state required minimum. This means that if the legislation passes, New York City workers could see the minimum wage increase to $13.13 an hour. The measure reportedly has the backing of Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. New York is following a trend across the country.
CA: On June 11, 2014, a plan to raise the City of San Diego’s minimum wage to $13.09 by 2017 moved out of a City Council committee and was put before Councilmembers to vote on whether the bill should be placed on a ballot for voters to decide this fall. A bill that would raise the California minimum wage to $13.00 an hour in 2017 passed the California Senate.
CT: In March, Connecticut’s governor signed a bill into law that will raise Connecticut’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017.
VT: On June 9, 2014, the governor of Vermont signed legislation into law that will make Vermont the state with the highest minimum wage. Vermont’s minimum wage will increase to $10.50 by 2018.
WA: On June 2, 2014, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to increase Seattle’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. The bill requires employers to phase in the increase over a period of several years. Employers with fewer than 500 employees will have seven years to reach $15.00 an hour, or five years, if tips and employer-provided health care are factored into the compensation. Employers with 500 employees or more must reach $15.00 an hour within 3-4 years.
Federal Govt: On June 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a proposed rule to implement President Obama’s executive order to increase the minimum wage for workers on federal construction and service contracts to $10.10 an hour. In a statement, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez repeated President Obama’s call to Congress to enact legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.