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States are being pushed for a $20 minimum wage as inflation continues

By 03/28/2023 5:26 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Workers initially happy with the pay increase find that their hard-won gains have been wiped out by inflation just years after labor advocates convinced a few states to boost their minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Anthony Rivera, a 20-year-old native of New York City who sorts parcels at a United Parcel Service facility in Brooklyn, claimed that his rising food expenditures forced him to take a second job at a grocery store.

“I was sitting at $15 an hour at UPS, and it was starting to become not enough when it comes to paying bills and purchasing groceries,” he added. That left me with no choice except to take on a new position.

Pro-labor forces are currently supporting legislation in states like New York, California, and Massachusetts that, if passed, would raise the minimum wage to $20 or more in the upcoming years.

According to the U.S., inflation had caused items that cost $15 in 2012, when labor activists adopted the “Fight for $15” slogan in a fight for wage increases, to cost close to $20 now likely. Labor Statistics Bureau.

However, opponents of the wage increase claim that they could harm small firms, which were already severely damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

To keep her business viable during the epidemic, Cindy Lee, the owner of a bowling alley in Endicott, New York, said she is having difficulty repaying loans.

“Paying all of these expenses at once will kill us. If salaries are hiked, I would undoubtedly have to make some cuts about employees, Lee said, adding that she would also have to boost costs for bowling, food, and alcohol.

Although states and some cities are permitted to set higher minimum wages, the federal minimum wage in the United States has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009. Thirty states have made this decision.

Labor unions have advocated $15 for low-paid workers to support themselves during a 40-hour workweek. In the coming years, the minimum wage will rise above that level in increasing states across the political spectrum.

Yet, those benefits were quickly offset. After the cost of essentials like gas and food skyrocketed last summer, inflation in the United States reached a new 40-year high.

Due to disruptions in the gas and food supply chains brought on by the coronavirus epidemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, those products’ prices have skyrocketed.

As the previous round of salary hikes is still being implemented, labor groups are calling for a new one.

By 2026, a New York measure would increase the state’s minimum wage to $21.25, adjusted annually to account for inflation. New York City pays $15 as the state’s minimum wage, while the rest pays $14.20.

One Massachusetts measure would increase the minimum wage from $15 to $20 annually starting in 2027.

Also, legislation passed in September would have put California on a path to raising the minimum wage for fast-food employees to $22 per hour from the current $15.50 for all workers. Restaurant sector groups spearheaded a successful campaign to force the bill into a referendum vote in 2024 but faced fierce opposition.

Supporters of a planned wage rise in New York express hope that it would be included in the state budget, which is anticipated to be finalized in early April.

At a rally in Albany, state senator Jessica Ramos, a Democrat who represents sections of Queens, said, “You can’t tell us that after the pandemic, that $15 will still be enough for us to keep food on our tables.” “That’s why we’re asking for $21.25, no less. Everything’s getting more expensive, except pay.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, advocated tying minimum wage increases to inflation in her executive budget proposal, but with a cap on how much wages might climb in a year.



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