The new year brought a much needed raise to millions of American workers in 21 states and the District of Columbia due to increases in state minimum wage levels. This means that a total of 29 states and the nation’s capital now have a minimum wage above the federal level of $7.25 per hour.
While the states and localities that have taken action to raise the minimum wage should be lauded, all American workers deserve a minimum wage and this requires a federal solution. But despite widespread public support, Congressional Republicans and their corporate backers continue to block efforts to raise the minimum wage. They have stuck to the same old, tired argument that raising the minimum wage will be bad for businesses, despite findings from a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research which found that states that raised the minimum wage experienced faster employment growth than the states that didn’t.
Millions of retail workers are barely making ends meet in minimum wage jobs across the country, and the Retail Justice Alliance urges the 114th Congress to start the new year by acknowledging the many Americans who are struggling to get by and raise the minimum wage.