After nearly a year of protesting and organized demonstrations, fast-food and retail workers have finally received changes that definitely rule in their favor.
The Washington City Council announced on Tuesday, Dec. 17, that the decision to raise minimum wage to $11.50 was unanimously approved.
According to the NY Times, the new hourly pay rate which was increased from an $8.25 minimum, is one of the highest in a number of American cities. The $11.50 minimum wage rate is scheduled to go into effect in 2016, and will be indexed accordingly based on the level of inflation.
Although the decision was unanimous, there was one democratic voice that opposed the wage hike. Mayor Vincent Gray stated that he opposed the change simply because there is no definitive way to determine how the change would affect the labor market. Gray recommended that minimum wage increased to just $10. However, Gray's one veto wasn't substantial enough to sway the decision as the unanimous vote still allowed the council to pass the measure.
“The DC Council could vote on the $11.50 per hour minimum wage within the next week or two and to do so would be wrong. I hope our elected officials can reverse their trend of misguided and arbitrary business decisions,” the Reuters blog said. “That is far too high of a number and clearly would not have the impact on District residents that proponents have suggested.”
Reuters reports that a plan was formulated by the District of Columbia Chambers of Commerce more than three years ago to move forward with the minimum wage increase, but the measure only started to progress recently.
With the minimum wage increase, millions of workers across the region will see a slight surge in earning, while the market shifts to balance out the increase. By 2016, other states may incorporate such changes. However, there are still many concerns and reservations over the raising minimum wage more than $3.00 an hour. While more regions will probably make strides to approve such measures, skepticism may play a major role in the passing of the law in other regions, due to the evident long-term labor market uncertainties.
Image via Wikimedia Commons | Food Strikes