FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Minimum Wages Rise Thanks to Fairness Project Ballot Initiative Victories
Nine States Where Fairness Project has Advanced a Minimum Wage Ballot Measure Will Get a Raise on January 1st
Washington, DC – Legislation to hike the federal minimum wage has stalled for more than a decade, keeping the current rate at a mere $7.25 an hour. Despite similar inaction by state lawmakers, minimum wage ballot initiatives have passed across the nation over the last few years as workers take matters into their own hands. Nine victories raising the wage have come directly from ballot measures or state legislation passed in response to voter-driven initiatives supported by the Fairness Project in the last five years. This past November, voters in Tucson approved a minimum wage increase with 65% of the vote.
“New Year’s Day is also Raise Day for many Americans across the country,” said Kelly Hall, Executive Director of the Fairness Project. “Ending poverty wages is both critical to our recovery from the pandemic, and a moral imperative. These wage hikes are long overdue for so many workers who fought hard to raise the minimum wage through the ballot measure process to secure more stability for their families.”
Since 2016, 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 $22 billion in their hands.
The next increases from those victories will take place on January 1, bringing the minimum wage up to $15 an hour in California, $14.25 an hour in Massachusetts, $11.15 an hour in Missouri, and $15 an hour in Tucson. Wages have also been adjusted based on inflation in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington. Voters in Florida also passed a $15 minimum wage increase in 2020, raising the wage to $11 in 2022.
The Fairness Project won the following campaigns to raise the minimum wage:
Tucson, Arizona Minimum Wage (2021)
The Fairness Project worked with the Tucson Fight for $15 campaign to pass a ballot measure to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The ballot measure, Proposition 206, was approved by voters on November 2, 2021 by a 63%-37% margin.
Arkansas Minimum Wage (2018)
The Fairness Project supported the Arkansans for a Fair Wage campaign to pass a ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage in the state from $8.50 an hour in 2018 to $11 an hour in 2021. The measure, Issue 5, was approved by voters by a margin of 68%-32% and has raised wages for more than 300,000 people.
California Minimum Wage (2016)
The Fairness Project worked with the Lift Up California coalition on a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for 6 million Californians. After the campaign collected the 365,880 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, Gov. Jerry Brown and the California legislature enacted the $15 per hour wage. Both Brown and legislative leaders said publicly that the new law was in direct response to the minimum wage initiative qualifying for the ballot. The wage has gradually increased from $10 an hour in 2016 to $15 an hour in 2022. The law also indexes the wage to inflation, up to 3.5% a year, in future years.
Colorado Minimum Wage (2016)
The Fairness Project helped win a ballot measure, Amendment 70, to raise the minimum wage from $8.31 per hour in 2016 to $12 per hour in 2020, delivering pay increases for nearly 500,000 Coloradan workers. Voters approved the measure by a margin of 55%-45%.
Maine Minimum Wage (2020)
The Fairness Project worked with local partners on a ballot initiative to gradually increase the minimum wage from $7.50 in 2016 to $12 an hour in 2020 for 181,000 Mainers.
Massachusetts Minimum Wage (2018)
The Fairness Project worked with Raise Up Massachusetts and provided early contributions to help raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The ballot measure campaign, and its successful signature collection effort, led to the passage of legislation to enact the increase and enact paid family and medical leave. The minimum wage will gradually increase from $11 an hour in 2018 to $15 an hour by 2023.
Missouri Minimum Wage (2018)
In 2018, The Fairness Project worked with local partners to pass a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage from $7.85 an hour in 2018 to $12 an hour in 2023 for 677,000 Missourians.
Washington Minimum Wage and Paid Leave (2016)
The Fairness Project worked with Raise Up Washington on a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage for workers age 18 and over from $9.47 an hour in 2016 to $13.50 an hour in 2020 for 1 million Washingtonians. The initiative also provides paid sick leave for 1 million workers. After 2020, the wage is adjusted to keep pace with the cost of living. Initiative 1433 was voted into law Nov. 8, 2016 by a margin of 58%-42%.