Last week, voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, expressed their frustrations with growing inequality and vote to raise the minimum wage. The average margin of victory on these ballot measures was 26%.
This stands in stark contrast to recent efforts in Washington, D.C. Republicans in the U.S. Senate spent the past year repeatedly blocking a bipartisan bill that would have gradually increased the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Prospects for raising the minimum wage in the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives are even dimmer. House Speaker John Boehner once remarked, “I’ll commit suicide before I vote on a clean minimum-wage bill.”
UFCW members have been instrumental in convincing state legislatures to pass minimum wage increases by making the issue a staple at state lobby days. In 2014, lobbying from UFCW helped convince legislatures in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and D.C. to enact minimum wage increases.
By January 1, 2015, 26 states will have a higher minimum wage than the federal standard of $7.25.