January 5, 2016
By Neal Tepel, LaborPress Editorial
New York, NY – For the last several years protests have been taking place across the USA regarding employees in certain industries not being paid a living wage. Fast-food workers, community groups and unions have been demonstrating for higher wages. Last November thousands protested in 270 cities in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
As a result of the this nationwide movement addressing low salaries in the fast food and healthcare industries, several municipalities implemented a minimum wage increase in 2016. Although the federal minimum wage remains $7.25 per hour, beginning January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in fourteen states and several cities increased to over $9 an hour. The steepest increases came in Alaska, California, Massachusetts, and Nebraska, raising their minimum wages to $10 per-hour. South Dakota saw its minimum wage rise by a nickel to $8.55 and Arkansas went from $7.50 to $8.00. Seattle set the hourly minimum wage to $13 on Jan. 1, and Los Angeles and San Francisco are enacting similar increases in July, as they move towards $15 an hour.
Since consumer demand and income levels have not recovered for several years, raising the minimum wage is a very effective tool to gain prosperity for our nation. Providing employees with an increased living wage will stimulate the economy and allow for a continual recovery from the recession of 2008.