The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009, even as the cost of living in the United States continues to rise. After years of sustained pressure, the workers and labor activists leading the Fight for $15 movement have won raises for 22 million workers nationwide through increases in the minimum wage at the local and state levels—but it’s time to do the same for everyone.
Early in the new Congress, Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03) introduced H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act (RTWA), to do exactly that.
The Raise the Wage Act would finally set us on a path to ensuring that all working people earn a living wage. The RTWA, which has over 200 cosponsors, would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, and then automatically increase it by the same percentage by which the median hourly wage increases every year after that. (The bill would also eliminate the subminimum wage for disabled, youth, and tipped workers, which can contribute to the problems of wage theft, and exacerbate the wage gaps that harm Black and women workers.) As a result, almost 40 million workers would see wage increases—and Black and Latino workers, as well as single moms and people close to poverty, would benefit in particular.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour has the support of a large majority of voters in battleground congressional districts (including white and non-white voters, and voters in cities, suburbs, and rural areas). But more importantly, it is an idea that will only become more urgent as the cost of living increases across the entire country. Right now, $15 an hour is barely enough for self-sufficiency in a lot of high-cost areas. But by 2024, $15 an hour will be the bare minimum a single adult with no children will be able to earn to attain a “secure yet modest” standard of living anywhere in the United States, according to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator. If we fail to act, working families will only continue to fall further behind.
You can help workers and their families by calling your MoC and telling them: support H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act, without any regional carve-outs!