Movin’ on Up to $15 Minimum Wage

From the National Employment Law Project (

California and New York made history this week, approving landmark plans to gradually raise their minimum wages to $15 an hour.

The details differ and the California increase is stronger than New York’s. But these first-ever state $15 wage rates are a huge victory for workers and the Fight for $15 movement, and a major milestone on the road to reversing decades of wage inequality. And they cement $15 as the national benchmark for meaningful wage reform.

The impact will be far-reaching: close to 10 million workers in the world’s 7th and 13th largest economies (California and New York, respectively) will see the largest wage increases in state history. Nearly 1 in 5 workers in the U.S. will now be covered by a $15 minimum wage.

“This is a very big deal,” NELP’s Paul Sonn told The New York Times. “The scale of having [$15 minimums in] both New York and California would reverse years of falling wages and result in very substantial wage growth for workers at the bottom.”

We’ve been honored to partner with this national movement, nurtured by SEIU, which, in the three years since fast-food workers first walked off their jobs in New York City, is already changing the landscape of wage advocacy and the nation’s economic trajectory.

The Fight for $15 is winning momentous change many thought impossible just a few years ago. But with the wind at our backs and the courage and tenacity of fast-food workers reminding us all that sí se puede—yes we can—we look forward to helping bring the next round of victories home in this unstoppable movement.

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