It’s looking like an exciting New Year already for tons of people who work in the U.S. and voted for an increase in minimum wage, and won! Over the weekend, states such as California and Arizona will see an increase in their minimum wage starting this week.
The states that will have the highest new minimum wages will be Massachusetts and Washington at $11 an hour.
California’s minimum wage rise will be in varying slopes depending on the job. For business workers or businesses with 26+ workers, the minimum wage will be $10.50. The minimum wage for New York will be $11, but for small businesses it will be $10.50 for those living in the city. For those living in downstate suburbs, the wage will go up to $10 and $9.70 for everyone else. People working in the fast-food industry or for smaller companies have different wage requirements
Alvin Major, a fast-food worker of New York City, told reporters that the $1.50 increase is very important. Major, a 51-year-old father of four, was of the millions who fought for the raise in his state. Fast-food workers have been petitioning for years for the increase and feel as though their efforts have been successful. Major said that with the rise in the price of food, rent, and everyday necessities, the raise was necessary.
Those who went out to vote in Maine, Colorado, Washington, and Arizona were able to get the wage raise approved in the election this year. Other states that will be raising their wages will be Florida, Montana, Missouri, Alaska, Ohio, South Dakota, and New Jersey. They will base their raise on indexing. Michigan, Hawaii, Arkansas, Vermont, and Connecticut will also see an increase in their wages. Later this year, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. will see a raise in their wages.
The state Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Arizona filed a suit challenging the increase in minimum wage from $8.05 to $10.
Those for the raise feel that it will help boost the economy by giving the workers more funds to spend. But many companies opposed to the wage increase feel that it will only lead to higher prices on goods available.
People are worried that certain restaurants may start reducing their portion sizes or possibly charging for things that were once free with meals, such as side dishes. They may do this to recoup losses due to the increase in wage. This idea came from the president of the New York State Restaurant Association, Melissa Fleischut.
She told reporters that she believes that prices will go up in some places, but for restaurants not to shock their customers, they will need to get creative.
The increase will begin this week in 22 cities around the country including Seattle, San Diego, and San Jose.