Fast-food workers and activists demonstrate outside McDonald’s downtown flagship restaurant on May 15, 2014, in Chicago. The demonstration was one of several nationwide calling for wages of $15 per hour and better working conditions for fast-food workers.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Indeed, 2017 will be a great reprieve for many who are happy to see 2016 go, and it will be especially sweet for some of America’s lowest-paid hourly workers. Nineteen states will ring in the year with an increase in the minimum wage.

Increasingly, states have had to step in where the federal government has not. The national minimum wage was last raised to $7.25 in 2009.


CBS News reports that Massachusetts and Washington state will have the highest new minimum wages in the country, at $11 per hour. New York City will also see wages rising to $11, but the rates will be less in the suburbs and elsewhere in the state. California will raise its living wage to $10.

The outlet reports that voters in Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington approved increases in this year’s election. And seven other states—Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota—are automatically raising the wage based on indexing.

The minimum wage will also go up in 22 cities and counties, including San Diego, San Jose and Seattle, this weekend.

Many view the increases in minimum wage as the direct result of activism on the part of the #FightFor15 movement, which advocates increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, or a decent living wage, for fast-food workers, home health attendants and other hourly laborers.


Oregon, New York and California—coincidentally, three states where rent, transportation and food prices have risen astronomically—will see gradual increases to a $12 or $15 hourly wage over several years.

“This $1.50 increase, I cannot even comprehend or tell you how important this will be,” said Alvin Major, a New York City fast-food worker, to CBS. The 51-year-old father of four helped lead the fight for the increase in his state. “The price of food has gone up. Rent has gone up. Everything has gone up. … This will make a difference for so many people.”


Read more at CBS News.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter