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Pay to rise for millions as 19 states increase minimum wage

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Millions of workers across the U.S. will see their pay increase as 19 states bump up their minimum wages as the new year begins. California, New York and Arizona are among the states with increases taking effect Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 or Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. New York state is taking a regional approach, with the wage rising to $11 in New York City, $10 in its suburbs and $9.70 upstate.

ALBANY, N.Y. >> It will be a happy New Year indeed for millions of the lowest-paid U.S. workers. Nineteen states, including New York and California, will ring in the year with an increase in the minimum wage.

Massachusetts and Washington state will have the highest new minimum wages in the country, at $11 per hour.

California will raise its wage to $10. New York state is taking a regional approach, with the wage rising to $11 in New York City, $10 in its downstate suburbs and $9.70 elsewhere.

“This $1.50 increase, I cannot even comprehend or tell you how important this will be,” said Alvin Major, a New York City fast-food worker. The 51-year-old father of four helped lead the fight for the increase in his state, one of several successful efforts by fast-food workers and other low wage workers around the country. “The price of food has gone up. Rent has gone up. Everything has gone up. … This will make a difference for so many people.”

Voters in Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington approved increases in this year’s election. Seven other states, Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota, are automatically raising the wage based on indexing. The other states seeing increases are Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan and Vermont.

Workers and labor advocates argue the increases will help low-wage workers now barely making ends meet and boost the economy by giving some consumers more money to spend. But many business owners opposed the higher wages, saying they would lead to higher prices and greater automation.

Some restaurant owners may consider reducing portion sizes or charging for side dishes that were once included in the price of a meal to absorb the increase, according to Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York State Restaurant Association.

“I’m sure prices will go up where they can, but restaurants want to avoid sticker shock,” she said. “They’re going to have to get creative.”

The adjustments in Oregon, New York, California and several other states are part of a series of gradual increases to a $12 or $15 hourly wage.

The minimum wage will also go up this weekend in 22 cities and counties, including San Diego, San Jose and Seattle.

The high number of states and localities raising the wage this year reflects the successful work of fast-food workers and organized labor, according to Tsedeye Gebreselassie, senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project, as well as federal inaction on the wage. The national minimum was last raised, to $7.25, in 2009.

“These aren’t only teens trying to make some pocket money,” she said. “Increasingly it’s adults who are using this money to support their families.”

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      • What an ass, I assumed your elders arrived in america as skilled labor? People do what they can, treating the uneducated with less than a living wage is in humane.

        • You do understand what starting pay is do you? Raises are given to employees as they learn more skills and add value to the company. If you’re stuck at minimum pay then maybe you need see what you’re doing wrong or move on.

          And yes. My parents started with minimum pay but worked they way up and earned enough to purchased a home in Hawaii no less.

        • Windward is correct. “Unskilled” workers at McDonald are loosing their jobs to”Create Your Taste” touchscreen kiosks, on which custom burgers can be built as well as full-menu ordering. The kiosks are incredibly convenient and improve order accuracy.

          Panera Bread has fully committed to the kiosk craze as well.
          The company will have about 50% of company-owned stores already have the technology installed, and the remaining locations expect to have kiosks in place by the end of the year.

          Better start to learn to pick pineapples, oh wait. We’ll grow them overseas where we can pay workers 12 cents an hour.

          Times have changed, it’s not 1930 anymore. Unskilled or college graduates with $100,000 in debt and no game plan better start thinking of a plan to pay the bills. Crying for a higher minimum wage won’t cut it.

        • Get an education or some job skill and you can stop crying and begging government to raise your wage.

  • Okay owners either lay off workers and/or raise your prices.

    “millions of the lowest-paid U.S. workers” are mostly non-skilled, entry-level, illegals with no ambition.
    Why are we encouraging their kids to do as their parents have done ?

    • These are the same Grubber subjects, the Demoncrats rely on to vote for them during election time. They don’t have business sense; they don’t see the cause and effects of doing business.

    • Only jobs available for G-I bill veterans. Cleaned college gym latrines until found yard-work at lakefront properties at $1 an hour. Then found job installing roof-top “Yagi” antennae in farming community for hardware store at $20 per job using their equipment and supplies. On-site took 45 minutes to complete job.

    • Plus no need to pay benefits, they don’t take vacations, lunchbreaks. Yes to robotics. The market should dictate wages, not laws, otherwise there are market distortions that hurt everyone.

  • Hold on to your wallets and purses. As the minimum wage goes up, so does the cost of everything we buy. It is basic economics. The end result is that there will be no change in the purchasing power of the new minimum wages, but it will give liberals another opportunity in three or four years to solicit votes by advocating for an increase in the minimum wage by claiming that the minimum wage that went into effect on January 1, 2017 is not a living wage.

  • Higher minimum wage may seem like a good idea, but in reality it will impact the low wage worker the most, and not in a positive way either. While the low wage worker will have a higher take home pay, prices increase, and with inflation, suddenly the minimum wage is no longer adequate yet again, but more insidious are that the entry level workers will have a higher unemployment rate, and it is already high. If you are already employed, you may be replaced by automation, because now, technology becomes more affordable. As most liberal programs, be careful what you wish for.

  • Conservative or liberal– both support raising the minimum wage, it is time to raise the minimum wage and this will give a further pop to the economy. This comes from the head of Citibank, and from one of Trump’s advisors and from Trump himself. Businesses need consumers to buy what they produce and putting more money into the hands of consumers will help this as much as pending on CEO pay or on more advertising. Tax cuts put money into the hands of the rich, and higher wages put money in the hands of consumers from more goods sold and more investment flowing into the economy.

    • Paying $15 an hour to unskilled HS/College students on their first job is ridiculous. Higher pay, like respect, must be earned.

      Sad to say Fight for $15 backers thought every worker would suddenly be paid $15 an hour, jobs would continue, all would be good. Failing to listen to the experts who told them jobs would be replaced by automation, companies would move to cheaper labor areas. All of this came true, is ongoing.

      This website shows the carnage of raising the minimum wage to $15. http://www.facesof15.com/ “Ashley Furniture announced in August that it will close its production and warehouse facility in Colton, California, in October. The location employed 840 people, who will be laid off. Production will be moved to Wisconsin, Mississippi, and North Carolina, where the minimum wage is 52% lower than California’s coming $15 wage floor.

      When CA elected bureaucrats who passed the higher wage law where asked to explain what happened, all had the “Deer in the headlights” stare. They didn’t have an answer, didn’t have a clue.

  • Initially, minimum wages were to protect high school and college students from employer abuse. It was never meant to be a living wage where a worker supports a family. The shift we see now in this country is evidence of a working force being less educated and thus, unskilled. This trend is probably the reason for the increase on government social services.

    • Wrong. Higher wages were not meant to protect HS & college students from employer abuse. Where did you dream this up? Federal and state labor laws take care of worker protection.

      Unbelievable.

  • ““These aren’t only teens trying to make some pocket money,” she said. “Increasingly it’s adults who are using this money to support their families.”>>> Adults who WERE teens and CONTINUED to do nothing about changing their skillsets to make themselves worth more but instead chose to pump out babies to emulate what “grown ups” do. THEY make all the bad decisions…everyone ELSE is to pay the costs.

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