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As Congress prepares to receive President Obama for his State of the Union address next week, leading worker advocacy groups today called for new legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $12.50 per hour by 2020, provide automatic annual increases to keep pace with rising overall wages, and phase-out the subminimum wage for tipped workers. The proposal is getting an immediate boost by the release of a new poll showing 75% of Americans – including 53% of Republicans – support raising the national minimum wage to $12.50 by 2020.

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Congressional Democrats Ready New Bill for $12 Federal Minimum Wage

Congressional Democrats are preparing a new bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the senior Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, are working to craft the measure and introduce it by late April. Advocates expect that it will include annual increases in each of the next five years to bring the federal minimum wage, currently stuck at a poverty-level $7.25 per hour, to $12 in 2020 and then adjust it each year after that to rise with increases in the overall median wage. Equally significant, it will also phase out altogether the lower subminimum wage for tipped workers.

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L.A. Minimum Wage Increases Would Boost Economy and Workers’ Incomes, Two University Studies Show

The Los Angeles City Council is considering proposals to raise the citywide minimum wage to $13.25 by 2017 and to $15.25 by 2019, and two separate research studies released yesterday show those higher wage rates would have substantially positive effects on the local economy and many workers’ earnings.

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Raise Up Roundup – March 11, 2015

Welcome to the first Raise Up Roundup, a new feature with timely news highlights on the fight to raise the minimum wage and workers’ pay from around the country. We start on the west coast, where workers in the East Bay area last week celebrated the new $12.25 per hour minimum wage that went into effect in Oakland, California, March 2. The increase, which was the result of a citywide ballot initiative that passed overwhelmingly in November of last year, will boost pay for more than 40,000 workers by an average of about $2,700 per year.

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Data Points: A Look at Involuntary Part-Time Work in Retail

Last month, Walmart announced it would raise its minimum wage to $10 by April 2016. The announcement follows years of organizing and advocacy by employees demanding the retail giant improve pay and working conditions in its more than 5,100 stores. But Walmart’s promise of $10 falls well short of what the highly profitable company can afford to pay its workers, and well short of the $15 these workers are rightly demanding. Walmart’s announcement also fails to give a guarantee of the full-time work hours employees want and need to provide stable lives for their families.

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New York to Raise Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers in Big Step Forward

In a huge win for tipped workers and their advocates, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced a wage order that will increase the minimum wage for tipped service workers to $7.50 per hour at the end of 2015 while the state studies a plan to eliminate the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers entirely. The new statewide $7.50 minimum wage will apply to all tipped service workers, who are now paid as little as between $4.90 and $5.65 per hour, while allowing for an $8.50 minimum in New York City if the city enacts a higher overall minimum wage.

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Walmart - Yes, Walmart - Says It’s Raising Wages for Lowest Paid Workers

Okay, you can stop rubbing your eyes. Walmart, America’s largest private employer, announced yesterday it is raising wages for about 500,000 of its workers, and setting a new minimum hourly wage of $9 in April and $10 by next February company-wide. Walmart’s announcement comes as years of protests and one-day strikes by a growing movement of workers, organizing under the banner of OUR Walmart, put the company in the public spotlight for its poverty-level wages, poor working conditions, and onerous scheduling practices.

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