Vermont Becomes Latest State to Hike Minimum Wage
Vermont's legislature passed a law this weekend that will hike the minimum wage in stages over the next four years to $10.50 in 2018. The wage will first be hiked to $8.73, then to $9.60 in 2016, $10.00 in 2017, and then $10.50 in 2018. Gov. Peter Shumlin has announced that he intends to sign it the bill, and will be "proud" to do so.
When he does, Vermont will be on track to have the highest minimum wage of any state in the country in 2018. There are a handful of states that have passed measures to raise theirs to $10.10, which is the level President Obama and Congressional Democrats are calling for, but can't get through.
Vermont is the seventh state to enact a minimum wage hike this year. It is the fourth to break the double digit mark. The others are Hawaii, Maryland, and Connecticut. Minnesota raised its minimum wage for most large companies to $9.50 an hour. Delaware and West Virginia to above $8 an hour. Woo hoo.
Seattle has announced a plan to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years, and numerous other cities have are taking matters into their own hands and enacting minimum wage locally. then there are the states, like Oklahoma, where hard-right Governor Mary Fallin has issued a ban on local minimum wage laws.
Of course, states and cities have had to take minimum wage matters into their own hands because the Republican-controlled House of Representatives adamantly refuses to raise it—with some even calling for the abolition of minimum wage laws altogether. Their specious arguments include saying that raising minimum wage will harm job growth and the economy, which has been demonstrated to be false, since it would greatly improve many people's purchasing power in a consumer-driven economy.
The fuel behind many of these campaigns to raise minimum wage comes from workers who are becoming increasingly activist. Fast food workers struck in 100 cities in December, and are planning on striking 150 U.S. cities on Thursday amid solidarity protests in 30 other countries across all six continents.
Workers of the world are uniting!