In 2017, nineteen states will be increasing their minimum wage ranges for millions of low-paid U.S. workers. States like Massachusetts and Washington will have the highest new minimum wages in the country at $11 per hour, while California will be raising their’s to $10.50.
New York will be working by a special case scenario in terms of region. New York City on average will have a minimum wage standard of $11. In other regions outside the city, minimum wage levels will range between $9.70-10.50 depending on the county.
“This $1.50 increase, I cannot even comprehend or tell you how important this will be,” said Alvin Major, a New York City fast-food worker and 51-year-old father of four. “The price of food has gone up. Rent has gone up. Everything has gone up. … This will make a difference for so many people.”
Other states expected to see minimum wage increases include Arizona, Maine, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan and Vermont.
Workers and labor advocates of the minimum wage movement believe the increases will assist low-wage workers to make ends meet, while also propelling the economy by granting consumers more money to spend.
However, some business owners are opposing the higher wages because they believe it will lead to higher prices and greater automation. For example, Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York State Restaurant Association, says some restaurant owners might cut down portion sizes or start charging for side dishes to absorb the increase. “I’m sure prices will go up where they can, but restaurants want to avoid sticker shock,” she said. “They’re going to have to get creative.”
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