The federal minimum wage has stalled for more than a decade at a mere $7.25 an hour. Due to inaction by lawmakers, minimum wage activism has swept the nation over the last few years as workers take matters into their own hands. Nine of those victories have come directly from ballot measures or state legislation passed in response to voter-driven initiatives supported by The Fairness Project in the last four years. In 2020, voters in Florida also approved a minimum wage increase with more than 60% of the vote.
“We must end poverty wages in the United States. Not only is it critical to our recovery from the pandemic, but it’s a moral imperative,” said Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of The Fairness Project. “Ballot measures in red, blue and purple states alike have been central to that progress. When it comes to the minimum wage, the biggest gap isn’t between Republicans and Democrats; it’s between politicians who don’t want to raise wages and the people they represent.”
Since 2016, The Fairness Project has helped working families put minimum wage initiatives on the ballot, winning wage increases in nine states, benefiting nearly 10 million workers and putting nearly $17 billion in their hands. The latest increases from those victories took place January 1, bringing the minimum wage up to $14 an hour in California, $13.50 an hour in Massachusetts, $11 an hour in Arkansas, and $10.30 an hour in Missouri. Wages have also be adjusted based on inflation in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington, and on July 1, Washington D.C. will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour.
In addition to the wage increases outlined from our campaigns, 14 other states have raised their wages in the new year.
The Fairness Project has also passed ballot measures across the country to expand Medicaid, stop predatory payday lending, and deliver paid sick, family and medical leave. It has now won 20 of its first 21 campaigns.