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Millions Receive Minimum Wage Raises Across the Country
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Summary: Millions will see raises thanks to mandated minimum wage increases.

This week, millions of Americans saw a bump in their paychecks. According to Buzzfeed, 19 states and 23 cities or counties will be upping their minimum wage.

  
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The Economic Policy Institute said that 4.3 million people will be affected by the increase, which was prompted by the fast food protestors’ “Fight for Fifteen” movement. The Fight for Fifteen protests were started four years ago, with fast food workers fighting across the country to raise their wages to $15/hr.

The largest minimum wage increases happened in Arizona (24%), Maine (20%), and Washington state (16%), and those raises were a result of ballot initiatives or passed legislation on election day. Arizona’s minimum wage was previously $8.05 and increased to $10. Maine’s was $7.5o and increased to $9. Washington’s minimum wage jumped from $9.47 to $11.

Seattle became the first city in the United States to have a $15 minimum wage, starting in 2015, and on New Year’s Day, another Washington city, SeaTac, will top that number with a minimum wage of $15.35.

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California, New York, Oregon, Arizona, Maine, Washington and Colorado were the seven states that raised their minimum wage to $12-$15/hour. Other minimum wage changes included the payment for tipped workers. Numerous states allow tipped employees to be paid less than minimum wage, but the state of Maine changed its laws to allow employees such as servers to be paid the regular minimum wage.

National Employment Policies Institute, a right-leaning think tank, criticized the changes.



“Labor unions and their activist allies may be popping the champagne,” Michael Saltsman told Buzzfeed. “But businesses and their employees are the ones that will feel the hangover effects of business closures, lost jobs, and reduced hours.”

It is reported that some major corporations such as Wendy’s is already looking into automating servers, which would eliminate the need to hire human employees. According to Buzzfeed, research has shown that increasing minimum wage has negligible effect on employment.

Source: Buzzfeed

What do you think of the new minimum wage increases? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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