Election Day marked a great victory for working people across the country, and it’s only the beginning. Voters in Albuquerque, N.M., San Jose and Long Beach Calif. chose to increase wages for the lowest-paid workers in their communities. In the absence of national minimum wage legislation, voters in individual communities are calling for an increase in the minimum wage for their lowest-paid neighbors, and telling local leaders a higher minimum wage is necessary to create economic recovery and help working families make ends meet.
Albuquerque’s minimum wage will increase from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour and will be automatically adjusted for inflation in subsequent years. In an effort supported by IWJ's affiliate in San Jose, the Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice, voters approved a measure to raise the minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour. In Long Beach, the minimum wage for hotel workers was raised to $13 an hour; workers will be guaranteed five paid sick days a year as well.
Sixty percent of voters supported these ballot initiatives, and a national poll conducted by Lake Research discovered that 73 percent of likely U.S. voters support increasing the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, it would be $10.55 an hour.
In 2013, IWJ and our affiliates will continue their work to increase the minimum wage in states throughout the country. As the cost of housing and goods continues to rise across the country, working people need adequate wages to keep their families out of poverty.
Together we can push lawmakers to make raising the federal minimum wage a priority in 2013. Click here to sign the petition.