"For the next four years ballot initiatives are going to be the only way forward for us to be able to raise the minimum wage for working Americans and their families," Schleifer said.

By Lisa Baertlein and Nandita Bose
11/9/2016

Voters in four states raised minimum wages on Tuesday even as Republicans who oppose such increases won nationally, indicating that workers may still be able to improve compensation at the expense of restaurants, retailers and other employers.

Pay hikes appeal to working-class voters who lifted Republican Donald Trump to a decisive win in the U.S. presidential race, and also to liberals who voted for Hillary Clinton, worker advocates said.

“This could be a uniting issue,” said Saru Jayaraman, co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley.

Voters in Arizona, Colorado and Maine voted to raise their minimum wages to $12 by 2020. Washington State agreed to take the minimum wage to $13.50 in the same time span.

Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project, which has supported minimum wage campaigns across the United States, said any near-term federal action was unlikely under Trump but activists were considering a minimum wage campaign in New Jersey.

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