330,000 Connecticut Workers Are Getting a Raise

Connecticut has just joined the growing list of U.S. states with a $15 minimum wage bill that’s now headed to the governor for signature.

More than 330,000 low-wage workers will be getting a raise under the legislation, which could be a huge boon to communities fighting poverty.

It’s not going to happen all at once. The minimum wage will be raised incrementally as other states have done to gradually shift from the current minimum of $10.10 to $15.

This gives businesses time to adjust to the change — offsetting a frequent complaint that minimum wage increases will cause market shock that leads businesses to close or reduce their workforce because they can’t cope with the expense. Employers will have until 2023 to prepare, and that also gives them time to gradually increase pricing on goods and services to absorb the change.

Even McDonald’s has ducked out of the minimum wage debate, saying it will no longer oppose laws like this one. That signals a huge change happening in industries that rely heavily on low-wage workers — and a certain amount of confidence that these businesses will be able to adjust. We already know from research that minimum wage increases do not cause job loss. Higher wages also tend to lead to better employee retention — one reason some companies are raising pay in advance of such bills.

Of course, the federal minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25, and some states are still taking advantage of that to allow businesses to pay people the bare minimum. And because of loopholes in federal law, some workers still earn a subminimum wage, including people with disabilities and wait staffs making a “wait wage” that can be just a few dollars an hour. It also should be noted that people earning the federal minimum wage can’t actually afford rent anywhere in the United States.

It doesn’t have to be that way. The Raise the Wage Act would lift the federal minimum wage to $15 and tackle the workers who slip through the cracks by eliminating the shortcomings in existing laws that allow for differential pay.

This legislation has a lot of support among Democrats, but unsurprisingly it’s a tougher sell for Republicans. That’s despite growing evidence that there is a clear business case for higher wages — and that some employers are starting to act on that information without needing to be compelled to. For the rest, legislation like this would provide a much-needed nudge.

Raising the minimum wage is especially important for women of color, who are disproportionately represented in low-wage work across the United States — including in hospitality, domestic work and a variety of other settings. A nationwide minimum wage hike could be transformative for women and their families. It would allow them to earn fair pay on the job, rather than having to scramble to balance multiple schedules across different workplaces to earn enough to meet their needs.

If the Raise the Wage Act can’t muster the votes this year, it will be back again, and again, until advocates succeed in passing it.

Photo credit: kali9/Getty Images

34 comments

Paulo Reeson
Paulo Reeson23 days ago

petition signed. ty

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Ben Oscarsito
Ben O25 days ago

Signed. I've been preaching $15 an hour for years!

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Lisa M
Lisa M26 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M26 days ago

Thanks.

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Martha P
Maria P26 days ago

Thanks for this

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Mary B
Mary B26 days ago

This incremental raising of wages is BS.Business always have excuses why they haven't yet, can't, won't raise wages to a living wage. It's because THEIR bottom line is more profit for them, not a decent life for the people who work for them. It's what capitalism is all about and it just part of the game. Untill they are pushed into a more common sense way of thinking that holds the people, and health of the planet and it's creatures in equal importance to profit we will have this unsustainable, exploitive economic system. Yes it works great for the upper classes, not not for the
rest.

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Jenn C
Jenn C26 days ago

To RK R: The American worker has been steadily increasing in productivity for several decades now. Business owners pocket the increased monies and stiff the workers any raises, hence the stagnant wage environment.

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Peggy B
Peggy B26 days ago

Petition signed.

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Peggy B
Peggy B26 days ago

TYFS

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Alea C
Alea C26 days ago

If Florida could get away with it they'd only pay workers $5 an hour so it will be a cold day in hell before Florida gives them $15 an hour.

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