Largest Pay Raise for US Workers in History? New York and California Approve $15 Minimum Wage Hike

Advocates are calling it one of the largest pay raises for American workers in the history of the country. About 5 million workers will see their wages increase substantially after a historic victory for the “Fight for 15” campaign. Both the state of California and New York City are poised to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the coming years. On Thursday, the California Legislature voted to raise the minimum wage incrementally each year until it reaches $15 an hour by 2022. Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he has reached a budget deal that will hike the minimum wage in New York City to $15 by the end of 2018. “It’s remarkable that only about three years ago this movement started with a single strike of a bunch of McDonald’s workers in New York City, and it has spread across the country,” says Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez. “And it’s going to continue to spread, because there’s too many Americans who cannot live on the federal minimum wage.”

TRANSCRIPT

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AMY GOODMAN: Juan, this is quite a remarkable victory in both New York and California around the minimum wage.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yes. The advocates are calling it, actually, the largest — one of the largest pay raises for American workers in the history of the country. About 5 million people are going to see — minimum-wage workers — are going to see their wages increase substantially over the next few years. And it’s remarkable that only about three years ago this movement started with a single strike of a bunch of McDonald’s workers in New York City, and it has spread across the country. And it’s going to continue to spread, because there’s too many Americans who cannot live on the federal minimum wage or on some higher state minimum wages in some areas. So this is a remarkable movement that’s also going to boost the economy, because all of these low-wage workers are going to immediately spend that money. And so, it’s remarkable that a movement has been able to get this far so quickly.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, we’ll continue to cover it, as this wave of both protest and response, with real laws, sweeps the country.