Washington, DC — On January 1, the minimum wage in several states will increase as a result of Fairness Project-backed ballot measure campaigns. While Congress has not passed a federal minimum wage increase since 2009, the Fairness Project has supported and won 10 ballot measure campaigns in eight states and localities to raise the minimum wage since its founding in 2016. This January, wages will go up in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Washington State, and Nebraska as a result of laws passed by citizens or subsequent adjustments for inflation and cost of living.
“Too many Americans are struggling to put food on the table or pay their bills — and so citizens have been taking matters into their own hands to raise wages when politicians won’t do their jobs. We’re honored to be able to support the workers, organizers, and voters who have fought to guarantee wage increases for workers this January,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project. “Citizens have the power to vote themselves a raise in the states where the minimum wage is still below $10/hour, and we’ll be working hard in 2023 to determine next steps toward economic justice for working families.”
In 2022, the Fairness Project helped lead a coalition in deep-red Nebraska to pass a $15 minimum wage through a citizen-initiated ballot measure. As a result, many Nebraskans will see their wages go up in January.
“From strategic guidance to financial support, the Fairness Project was instrumental in securing this win for working families in Nebraska – for the third cycle in a row. Their strong commitment to economic justice, as well as their deep expertise and experience with winning hard-fought ballot measure campaigns, made them an essential partner to our campaign and we’re so grateful for their support,” said Kate Wolfe from Raise the Wage Nebraska.
See below for a list of wage increases happening in 2023 as a result of Fairness Project campaigns:
Arizona: Increases from $12.80 to $13.85 per hour
Tucson, AZ: Increasing from $13 to $13.85 per hour
California: Increases from $14/$15 to $15.50 per hour
Colorado: Increases from $12.56 to $13.65 per hour
Maine: Increases from $12.75 to $13.80 per hour
Massachusetts: Increases from $14.25 to $15 per hour
Missouri: Increases from $11.15 to $12 per hour
Nebraska: Increases from $9.00 to $10.50 per hour
Washington: Increases from $14.49 to $15.74 per hour
See below for a full list of Fairness Project victories on minimum wage.
Nebraska Minimum Wage (2022)
Nebraskans voted to approve a $15 minimum wage in November 2022 by passing Initiative 433. An increase over the current statewide minimum of $9 an hour, the increase will occur gradually until 2026, after which it will increase each year indexed to inflation.
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.
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.
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 and index the wage to inflation. 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.
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.
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%.
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%.