When Bernie Sanders launched his 2016 presidential campaign, one of the issues he promised to tackle was the minimum wage. He believed that too many Americans, particularly millennials, were working minimum wage jobs that could not pay for a reasonable standard of living after completing a 40-hour workweek. Sanders faced strong opposition at the time, but since then, several states and cities have put measures in place to pursue a gradual rise to $15 an hour.
USA Today estimates that there are twice as many cities and states supporting $15 minimum wages than the year before. Some of the jurisdictions that already hit the $15 goal include New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. Even states that are a long way off from the $15 mark are raising their pay floors for the first time in a decade. Among them are New Mexico and Illinois. In contrast, the federal minimum wage has not moved from less than half of this figure since 2009.
Texas is one of the states that has a minimum wage still in line with the federal government. While there are cities that would like to set their own increases, state wage preemption laws make this difficult. Repeals of these laws are now under way in not just Texas but also Oklahoma and Mississippi.
CBS estimates that nearly 7 million workers will see increases in their pay rates as a result of the jurisdictions that have already increased their pay floors. In fact, some are increasing limits way beyond the $15. Seattle is among one of the cities with the highest pay floors as workers make at least $16.39 per hour. These increases are expected to add up to $1,700 to workers’ annual salaries.