The Guardian: ‘The success is inspirational’: the Fight for $15 movement 10 years on

Federal lawmakers failed to increase the minimum wage, but US workers made other gains, and they are setting their sights on new goals

Ten years ago next week, 200 fast-food workers walked out at 20 New York City restaurants, demanding $15 an hour in pay. At the time, many observers scoffed at $15 as an absurd, pie-in-the-sky demand. As the movement’s anniversary approaches, the Fight for $15 movement has proven the naysayers wrong.

Congress has failed to increase the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009. But across the country, states and companies have raised wages in the wake of Fight for $15’s efforts. While, for many, $15 an hour is still too low, the increases have been especially important in the current era of rising inflation.

Twelve states and Washington DC have adopted a $15 minimum hourly wage, although in many states it’s being phased in. Even deep-red Nebraska has embraced a $15 minimum, while Hawaii has approved an impressive $18 minimum to be phased in between now and 2028.

“The movement’s success is inspirational,” said Yannet Lathrop, a policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project. “It has helped 26 million workers across the US win $150bn per year in additional pay. Its impact for workers of color is significant. About 12 million workers of color have benefited and their additional earnings are $76bn a year.” For workers whose wages rose, this means an average raise of roughly $6,000 a year.

Read the full article at the Guardian.

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