As 2022 begins, the minimum wage has increased to $15 an hour for workers in 21 states. New York State kicked off the trend on Friday, Dec. 31, with the vast majority of states following on New Years Day, Saturday, Jan. 1.
A total of eight states, including New York, California, Massachusetts, and Illinois, are raising the minimum wage as a scheduled increase, with the minimum wage in all states rising to $15 in the years ahead, per CNN, while other states like Arizona, Minnesota, Ohio, and Montana will see minimum wage increases that are adjusted for inflation. Other states, including Missouri and Florida, will see their state minimum wages increase thanks to ballot initiatives passed by voters in 2018 and 2020 respectively.
The varying increases in the minimum wage differ by state, with some states like Michigan seeing more gradual increases of 22 cents an hour, compared to Virginia seeing a significant increase of $1.50 an hour in their minimum wage, per CNN.
In an interview with Newsmax, Dr. Mark J Matney, the Commissioner of Revenue for Washington County, Virginia, says while the $1.50 increase may look large on paper, other factors are at play. "Nine dollars to $11 [wages an hour] is nothing right now, with the cost of living and inflation. Right now, gas prices are high, the price of meat is through the roof. It’s hardship for everyone. Nine dollars to $11 will not help people terribly much, but most stores around here are already paying a base of over $15 per hour."
'Fight for 15'
The uptick in state minimum wages occurs as efforts to increase the federal minimum wage continue. The so-called "Fight for $15" started almost a decade ago, in 2012, when fast food workers went on strike for a $15 minimum wage. For some activists, however, $15 is not sufficient enough today, with California activist Joe Sanberg telling the Los Angeles Times: "We have to move the ball forward and farther. It’s [the minimum wage] overdue for $18….The job will be done when everyone who works full time can afford life’s basic needs."
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