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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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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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Tell the NY Labor Commissioner You Support a Raise for Tipped Workers

The nearly 230,000 workers in New York State who are forced to rely on tips for basic income, instead of having a fair and reliable base wage, could see a raise in the tipped minimum wage as a step toward eliminating the subminimum wage for tipped workers. Currently, the minimum wage for tipped food service workers if just $5 per hour, and only $5.65 for other tipped service workers. Earlier this month, the state's Wage Board recommended increasing the minimum wage for tipped workers to $7.50 by the end of 2015 -- and to $8.50 in New York City if the city's minimum wage is raised above the state level -- and consider eliminating the subminimum tipped wage in the future. The time to act is now!...

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In New York Minimum Wage Debates, Lots of Talk, Little Action

Dueling minimum wage proposals from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have raised the stakes recently in the ongoing fight to raise the minimum wage in those jurisdictions, while a state wage board has recommended some fairly positive – and some not so positive – changes to the minimum wage for the state’s tipped workers. Mayor de Blasio this week called for raising the minimum wage in New York City to $13 per hour by 2016 and to $15 by 2019, which would match the highest city minimum in the country alongside Seattle and San Francisco. Governor Cuomo’s office responded, calling a minimum wage proposal above $13 “a non-starter” – even though the Governor had backed a $13.13 minimum wage plan just last year.

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Children’s Defense Fund: Increase the Minimum Wage to Lower Child Poverty

At a recent unveiling of a new report on child poverty, the Children’s Defense Fund made a set of recommendations, including an increase in the minimum wage, to reduce child poverty by 60 percent with minimal additional cost to taxpayers. According to the report, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would immediately reduce child poverty between 4 and 8 percent, lifting 400,000 children above poverty, and generating $15.2 million in new revenue to state and federal governments from an increase in income taxes and reduced use of public assistance. A higher increase in the minimum wage – such as $12.50 at the federal level, a rate that garners overwhelming public support according to a recent poll – could have an even larger impact, bringing much needed relief to more working families whose current earnings keep them in or near poverty despite their hard work.

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20 States to Increase Minimum Wage on New Year’s Day

3.1 million low-paid workers will receive a pay raise when 20 states ring in the New Year with increases in their minimum wage rates. A majority of states will now have minimum wages that are higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

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