California’s legislature approved a plan on Thursday to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, giving workers the highest statewide minimum wage rate in the country.
Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill on Monday.
— John Myers (@johnmyers) March 31, 2016
California currently has a $10 an hour minimum wage, which is tied for the highest with Massachusetts. Washington, D.C. is at $10.50 an hour.
Other cities in the United States have recently passed higher wages, which will take effect over a certain amount of years.
California’s own wage increase will go up over time as well. Minimum wage will go up to $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018 and a dollar more annually through 2022.
The fight for wage increase
The minimum wage increase in California has brought both praise and criticism.
Service Employees International Union in California, a labor union, celebrated the victory.
“Fast food workers, early childhood educators, home care providers and other hard-working, underpaid Californians have made history and delivered hope to millions of families struggling to get by on wages too low to live on and without basic benefits such as sick days. SEIU California’s 700,000 workers are proud to have fought alongside the Fight for $15 to show the world that when workers stand together, we can improve the lives of our families and create a fairer economy,” said Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU California.
— Fight for $15 LA (@Fightfor15LA) March 31, 2016
In contrast, the California Chamber of Commerce came out against the wage increase, calling it a “job killer bill.”
President and CEO Allan Zaremberg stated: “This is much too fast. It is unfortunate the Legislature didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to address the issue in a more balanced manner.”
— CalChamber (@CalChamber) April 1, 2016
The beneficiaries of the minimum wage increase
The Center for Labor and Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley estimates that 96 percent of the 5.6 million workers getting the minimum wage increase are adults, and over a third of them are parents.
— UCB Labor Center (@UCBLaborCenter) March 31, 2016
Image: Ross D. Franklin/AP