It’s now been 11 years since we raised the federal minimum wage

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It’s the longest period without a raise in the history of the minimum wage. The last time the U.S. federal minimum wage was raised was July 24, 2009. For 11 years—now the longest period without a raise in the history of the minimum wage—the federal floor for earnings has been set at $7.25 an hour, or $15,080 a year. Over the course of those 11 years, that amount has lost its buying power to inflation, even as the cost of so many necessities has risen . With the country in an economic crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some employers are calling for the federal minimum wage to be increased to $15 an hour to not only help workers, but also boost struggling businesses. Read Full Story

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Florida just became the 8th state to adopt a $15 minimum wage

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The Sunshine State’s current minimum wage is $8.56. Florida voters think it should be much higher. Florida voters just passed an amendment to increase the minimum wage from $8.56 an hour to $15 an hour by 2026, making Florida the eighth state to adopt a $15 minimum wage. As in other states, the amendment will gradually increase the wage floor over the next six years, raising it to $10 next year and then upping it by $1 each year until the minimum wage reaches $15 in 2026. Read Full Story

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Gravity Payments is expanding its $70,000 minimum wage from Seattle to Idaho

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The company—a winner of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards—made waves in 2015 when it set a very high ceiling for the pay of all its workers. As it expands to a Boise office, it’s offering employees there the same deal, despite the lower cost of living. In 2015, Dan Price, the CEO of the Seattle-based credit card processing company Gravity Payments, told his employees that he was taking a million-dollar pay cut in order to raise the minimum wage at the company to $70,000. Five years later, he says that the policy has been a success—and the company is now in the process of adopting the same minimum wage at its second location in Boise, Idaho. Read Full Story

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David Chang and other chefs say now is the time to fix the restaurant industry’s long-standing inequities

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Their “Safe and Just Reopening” plan calls for eliminating the tipped minimum wage, pooling tips, and tax relief for the restaurant business. If restaurants have struggled during the pandemic, restaurant workers are struggling even more, in part because their economic situation was already precarious before the outbreak. The federal subminimum wage for tipped workers is still the same as it was nearly 30 years ago: $2.13 an hour. Now, as many restaurants reopen and workers return, some restaurant owners are arguing that the industry needs to fundamentally change. Read Full Story

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Walmart is giving 165,000 employees a pay raise between $15 and $30 per hour

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Walmart says the new wage structure “is built around higher-skilled jobs of the future, and the compensation for those roles reflects that.” Walmart, America’s largest employer with over 1.5 million U.S.-based workers, has announced it is giving 165,000 employees a pay raise. The pay raises for many will increase their current hourly wage from $11 to $15 per hour, while some select positions can see pay raises up to as much as $30 per hour. Read Full Story

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A $15 federal minimum wage would reshape the lives of working people. Can Biden deliver?

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Between the emergency of the pandemic and wage increases at the state level, we’ve never been closer to a national $15 minimum wage. Saru Jayaraman likes to say the restaurant industry had a “pre-existing condition” long before the pandemic. “It was already the nation’s second largest private sector employer with the absolute lowest wage jobs of any industry,” says Jayaraman, the cofounder and president of One Fair Wage . The pandemic only exacerbated the financial insecurity of working in the restaurant industry—but with the added threat of contracting a dangerous virus. “Millions and millions of these workers were forced to go back to work before they felt safe or ready because they got no benefits, [and] they had no choice,” she says. “And what our data has shown is that when they went back to work, it was a nightmare.” Read Full Story

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Why American workers are having a moment

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If capitalism isn’t working for your employees, it isn’t working. Even before the pandemic brought to a head the challenges faced by essential employees (low wages, inadequate safety gear, nonexistent sick leave), a diverse set of workers started to rebel against decades of management policies that expand profits and enrich shareholders, often at the expense of workers and their families. Fight for $15—a coalition of fast-food workers, home health aides, childcare providers, airport workers, retail employees, and adjunct college professors—has been pushing for a $15-per-hour national minimum wage since 2012, and it has successfully lobbied for higher hourly wages in at least eight states. Teachers staged walkouts and gained concessions on pay and health benefits. Google employees demanded greater accountability from management on issues ranging from diversity to ethics, culminating in the formation of a union at the beginning of this year. Read Full Story

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Middle class jobs for non-college grads have disappeared from big U.S. cities

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Workers without a four-year degree have seen their city earnings drop so much that even without rising rents, it would be enough to price them out of urban areas. A higher minimum wage could help. Cities are expensive. But it’s not only skyrocketing rents and increasing cost of living that are making them harder and harder places to live for non-wealthy residents. A lack of middle-class jobs for people without a four-year college education is also to blame. Decades ago, someone without a four-year degree could still make a middle-class living in an urban area, but now those jobs have largely disappeared. And the loss has hit Black and Latino workers the hardest. Read Full Story

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Stimulus check eligibility update: Here are the winners and losers, according to the latest plan

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Congress is close to signing off on a third round of stimulus checks, but the details of who qualifies may change. Wondering where your next stimulus check is hiding? Excellent question! It is currently in legislative purgatory between the House and the Senate. The House passed the latest bill for coronavirus relief last weekend ; the Senate is expected to vote soon on its own version of the bill, possibly this week. That vote-a-rama will be quite a show: Republicans will feed the Senate amendments for endless hours, aiming to reveal splits among Democrats on key issues , as well as create content for future political ads. The main battlefields will be topics such as raising the federal minimum wage to $15. Read Full Story

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