It's a victory that many people are celebrating in Minnesota. After fast-food workers rallied at the state capitol in February asking to be paid a living wage, Minnesota is taking the first step in raising the minimum wage. And on Friday, a number of new state laws went into effect raising the average income for minimum wage employees.
The minimum wage increased to $8 an hour, up from $6.15 per hour, and applies to large employers that earn a least a half a million dollars per business year. For smaller businesses, employees the minimum wage will increase from $5.25 to $6.50 per hour, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Eventually the minimum wage for large employers will increase to $9.50 an hour in a year—making Minnesota the highest minimum wage in the U.S.
With protests against fast-food chains intensifying recently, the new laws just passed in Minnesota come at a time when public action has gained the most support since late 2012. Activists upgrading the push for a $15 hourly wage and a union for the U.S-based fast-food employees.
As one-day strikes and other rallies continue throughout the U.S., the fast-food employees campaign efforts are backed by community groups, faith-based organizations and the Service Employees International Union. While Minnesota is setting the bar, activists continue the fight to raise the minimum wage in all states, especially the ones without minimum wage laws.