United States: Four states vote to raise the minimum wage

A protester demands raising the minimum wage.
Although the raises fall short of union demands for a US$15 an hour minimum wage, they represent steps forward.

“Voters in four states — Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington — said yes on November 8 to ballot initiatives that will boost their state’s minimum hourly wage, offering hope, advocates say, of an increased standard of living for roughly 2.1 million workers,” Common Dreams said on November 9.

Although the raises fall short of union demands for a US$15 an hour minimum wage, they represent steps forward. In general, the staged rises will increase the minimum wage to $12. In Arizona, Common Dreams said, the vote “also mandates paid sick leave — 40 hours a year for those at businesses with 15 or more employees; 24 hours annually for those with fewer than 15 employees.”

“With 53 percent backing the measure, Colorado voters passed Amendment 70, which will raise the minimum wage from $8.31 to $9.30 per hour in 2017. It will then go up 90 cents each year until it reaches $12 in 2020.”

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