Fight for $15 Impact Report: Raises for 17 Million Workers, 10 Million Going to $15


The strikes taking place on April 14, 2016 mark three-and-one-half years since fast-food workers in New York launched the Fight for $15, focusing national attention on widening inequality and setting off a wave of action in various forms to raise wages. This report by the National Employment Law Project quantifies the impact that this movement has had to date on wages in the United States.

The key findings are the following:

  • Since November 2012, nearly 17 million workers throughout the country have earned wage increases through a combination of states and cities raising their minimum wages; executive orders by city, state, and federal leaders; and individual companies raising their pay scales.
  • Of those workers, nearly 10 million—59 percent—will receive gradual raises to $15 per hour, cementing $15 as the national benchmark for strong action on wages, and beginning to reverse decades of growing wage inequality.
  • Most of those 10 million workers are receiving raises as a result of the landmark $15 state minimum wages that California and New York approved last month. Under those increases, more than 1 in 3 workers in both states will receive raises of about $4,000 per year once they are phased in.
  • This wave of action is historic in scale. Fifty-one states and cities have raised the minimum wage since 2012—more than ever before in U.S. history.
  • States and cities are delivering larger raises for a broader segment of the workforce than the United States has seen in 50 years. While the new $15 state wages in California and New York will raise pay for more than one-third of workers, the last federal minimum wage increase to $7.25 in 2009 raised pay for only 10 percent of the workforce.

Download the full fact sheet below. 

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