Reprinted from The New York Times by its editorial board on January 2, 2017.
“Victories have been steady and significant in the Fight for $15, a nationwide movement for higher pay that began just over four years ago with walkouts by fast-food workers in New York City,” according to an editorial in The New York Times. “In 2017, nearly 12 million workers will get raises as seven states and 18 cities and counties begin phasing in higher minimums approved in 2016. In all, 30 states have now set their minimums higher than the federal level of $7.25 an hour.
“Despite this growing movement, the federal minimum hasn’t budged since 2009, and there has been little progress in some regions of the country, including the South. Now comes the election of Donald Trump, whose convoluted statements on raising the federal minimum boil down to ‘no’ or ‘maybe a little bit.’
“If that’s the attitude of the next administration, more states and localities could take matters into their own hands, which may suit Trump just fine. In the past, he has said raising the minimum should be left to states, an idea also advanced by Andrew Puzder, the fast-food executive Trump tapped for labor secretary. What they fail (or refuse) to see is that state and local raises, while laudable, are not a substitute for a federal raise. …