On Election Day 2016, the minimum wage was a big winner, with voters backing minimum wage increases on the ballot. Voters in four states (Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington) and one city (Flagstaff, AZ) backed minimum wage increases ranging from $12 to $15 an hour, delivering raises for about 2.1 million workers. In Maine and Flagstaff, voters also approved a gradual phase-out of the outdated subminimum wage for tipped workers – a historic step forward for these marginalized workers that will finally guarantee them the same minimum wage as other workers. And in South Dakota, voters soundly rejected a proposal that would have lowered the minimum wage for young workers.
As voters signal deep frustration with the economy and Congress’s obstruction of efforts to raise pay, these ballot wins bring to 19 million the total number of workers receiving minimum wage increases since the Fight for $15 launched in 2012 – and build momentum for further action at the federal, state and local levels.