November 5, 2014
Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 835-3323
ashington, DC— The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer and labor organization, applauds election advances in a handful of states towards a living wage for all workers, with increases to the minimum wage in several states, and implementation of paid sick leave for workers in several others.
“Last night’s victories for working Americans are also victories for the states and communities where the minimum wage will be raised. Their citizens will have a better standard of living as a result of these increases," said Sally Greenberg, executive director of NCL.
Arkansas raised its state’s minimum wage from $6.25 (lower than the federal minimum wage) to $7.50 an hour, with 50-cent increases scheduled for 2016 and 2017. Nebraska voters approved a boost to $8 an hour, and set it to increase to $9 an hour in 2016. South Dakota voters supported wage increases to $8.50 an hour and linked future increases to inflation. Alaska voters approved a hike from $7.75 to $8.75 and again to $9.75 in 2016, with additional increases tied to inflation.
Last night also provided workers in traditionally more liberal areas with wage increases as well. Illinois voters approved a non-binding measure to boost their state minimum wage from $8.25 to $10 next year. The city of San Francisco became the second city in the country, after Seattle, to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour in next few years. In a similar move, the city of Oakland, California, approved a measure taking its wage from $9 an hour to $12.25, set to begin in March.
Experiencing its biggest single advance in history, voters in four locations—the state of Massachusetts; Montclair and Trenton, NJ; and Oakland, CA—approved measures guaranteeing workers paid sick days. The victories reflect broad public support for Americans who work at the lowest paying jobs.
“Paid sick days are a common-sense policy that allows workers time off to care for themselves and family members. And with cold and flu season upon us, these policies will lead to healthier workplaces and classrooms,” said Michell McIntyre, outreach director of labor and worker rights at NCL.
With last night’s victories at the ballot box, three states and 16 cities have passed paid sick days laws, including two states and 10 cities in 2014 alone. “With additional paid sick days legislation percolating in numerous states and several municipalities, clearly the public supports access to paid sick days for all workers,” said Greenberg.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.