As 2016 comes to a close, wage advocates are cheering what's being hailed as among the most significant years since 2012, when the Fight for $15 movement began seeking better pay for low-wage workers. Nearly 12 million workers in 19 states and an additional nearly two dozen cities and counties will ring in the New Year with wage hikes that kick in by January 1, according to the conservative Employment Policies Institute.
Support for higher wages has been surging for several years, with major cities including New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles agreeing to increase pay to $15 an hour over the course of several years, and states like New York State and California following suit.
Workers in Arizona will get an increase of 24 percent, from $8.05 an hour to $10 an hour. Meanwhile those in Washington State and Massachusetts will have the highest minimum wages in the country at $11 an hour.
Currently 29 states and Washington, DC, have wages set above the federal floor of $7.25 an hour, a number that has remained stagnant since 2009 despite efforts from the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats to increase it.