On Tuesday, March 19, North Carolina lawmakers joined Raising Wages NC — a coalition of workers groups, advocates, business, and faith leaders — to introduce legislation that gradually raises the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.  House Bill 366, “Raising Wages for NC Workers,” would also end the subminimum wage for persons with disabilities and phase it out for tipped workers. It would now cover agricultural and domestic workers, two groups that have historically been excluded from wage protections.  About a third of workers in North Carolina currently earn less than federal poverty-level wages, which is the second-worst in the nation.

The federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, has not changed in 10 years.  The federal minimum wage for tipped workers — $2.13 an hour — has not changed since 1991.  21 states, along with Washington, D.C., will see raises in their minimum wages this year.