The federal minimum wage has remained unchanged at $7.25 per hour since 2009, an amount that is simply not enough for workers in today’s economy. In the face of an unchanged federal wage, state and local governments, along with independent businesses that include big corporations, are raising wages to meet their own higher standards. This week, Connecticut became the 7th state in the nation – and the 4th state just this year – to implement a $15/hour minimum wage, to be phased in by 2023. Connecticut joins California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C. with its legislation for a phased-in $15/hour minimum wage by 2025. Recent analyses suggest that, when state- and city-level wage hikes are taken into account, the effective minimum wage in the United States is currently almost $12/hour.
Some large corporations have also acknowledged the need for higher hourly wages, in some cases raising minimum wages to attract people to jobs that may otherwise be undesirable due to low pay or the nature of the work itself. Notably, Bank of America and Google have announced higher pay for tellers and temporary workers, respectively. And while it has not agreed to a raise hike per se, McDonald’s will no longer lobby against minimum wage hikes.
Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of the founder of the Walt Disney Company, has also spoken out recently on income inequality in her family’s company.