The Fairness Project celebrates the role of citizen-led ballot initiatives for working families in 2017 and beyond.

While Congress enters its eighth year without raising the federal minimum wage, raises went into effect for workers in nineteen states with nearly 70 percent of those raises the result of well-organized and popular citizen-led ballot initiative campaigns.

Three additional states and the District of Columbia are set to increase their wages mid-year on July 1, 2017.

“Today we are seeing the impact of Americans refusing to wait for politicians to prioritize  working people and ensure wages that enable families to both heat their homes and feed their families,” said Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of The Fairness Project, an organization that supported the four, successful minimum wage ballot initiatives in this last election. “As the new Congress settles in, they should remember that many of their constituents bypassed our broken political system and took direct action to improve our economy, giving millions of workers a raise. This is just the beginning of our efforts to achieve economic fairness across the country. In the coming years, they can be obstacles – which we shall overcome – or take their lead from their constituents and lead the fight for economic fairness. It’s going to happen with or without them.”

Since 2004, citizen-driven ballot measures have brought about direct change at the ballot box or created the momentum for lawmakers to take action in 14 states, but the number of people impacted by raises in 2016 is greater than ever. With support from The Fairness Project, ballot initiatives last year secured wage increases for approximately eight million workers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Washington state and Washington, D.C. Additionally, two million workers will now have paid sick leave because of these efforts in Washington and Arizona.

The Fairness Project gives campaigns the cutting-edge tools to build broad grassroots support including digital outreach and social media, data and analytics, strategic planning, opinion research, media support and national coordination of ballot initiative campaigns. The organization will build on the successes of this past cycle in 2017 and 2018 to help even more workers use their voices to improve our broken economy.

For reference, here is a list of when wages go into effect nationwide:

2017 Minimum Wage Increases:
[Jan. 1, 2017 Effective Date Unless Otherwise Stated]
Asterisk (*) indicates raise due to ballot measure
2016 Minimum Wage 2017 Minimum Wage
Alaska * $9.75 $9.80
Arizona * $8.05 $10.00
Arkansas * $8.00 $8.50
California * $10.00 $10.50
Colorado * $8.31 $9.30
Connecticut $9.60 $10.10
District of Columbia *

Effective July 1, 2017

$11.50 $12.50
Florida * $8.05 $8.10
Hawaii $8.50 $9.25
Maine * $7.50 $9.00

Effective July 1, 2017

$8.75 $9.25
Massachusetts $10.00 $11.00
Michigan $8.50 $8.90
Missouri * $7.65 $7.70
Montana * $8.05 $8.15
Nevada *

Effective July 1, 2017

$8.25 not announced
New Jersey * $8.38 $8.44
New York

Effective December 31, 2016

$9.00 $11.00
Ohio * $8.10 $8.15
Oregon *

Effective July 1, 2017

$9.75 $10.25
South Dakota * $8.55 $8.65
Vermont $9.60 $10.00
Washington * $9.47 $11.00