Chicago implements $10 minimum wage. Other cities aim for $15 by 2020.(Read article summary)
The pay hike is a step toward a $13 minimum wage in Chicago by 2019. Other cities plan on pushing the rate to $15 by 2020.
Minimum wage workers in Chicago will receive $10 an hour starting Wednesday, as a part of a long-term plan to increase pay to $13 an hour by 2019.
At the same time, Washington, D.C. will implement a $10.50 an hour wage, making it the first of the states to pass the $10 threshold.
And Chicago and Washington are not alone in moving on minimum-wage hikes. They've already been enacted in several major cities across the country.
On May 19th, Los Angeles voted to raise its minimum wage from $9 an hour to $15 an hour by 2020, following the footsteps of San Francisco and Seattle. Both cities also have plans in place to increase their minimum wages to $15 an hour, Seattle by 2017 and San Francisco by 2018.
Other cities with incremental pay hikes include San Diego and Oakland, Calif.
In Seattle, the city's projected minimum wage of $15 will create a gap of about $6 with respect to the surrounding suburbs.
According to The Washington Post, this could lead to complications:
"The landscape of minimum wage increases points to a significant but seldom-discussed trend that has been taking place across the country: The poor who would benefit most from higher wages increasingly live in the suburbs. And a lot of the kinds of jobs they do have been moving out there, too.
Those shifts underscore why cities and suburbs, where they can ... should aim to coordinate minimum wage hikes."
Americans are increasingly supportive of federal minimum wage increases – a move that supporters say could ease problems between cities with high minimum wages and their lower-wage suburbs.
According to a January poll by the National Employment Law Project, 75 percent of Americans and 53 percent of Republicans say they would approve increasing the federal minimum wage to $12.50 by 2020. When asked about a $15 minimum wage, 63 percent of Americans polled said they would support it.
In addition, 71 percent of Americans agreed tipped workers should received the same minimum wage as other workers, instead of the current $2.13.
In a May interview with CBS News, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested that the vote to raise minimum wage in Los Angeles to $15 an hour reflects a national trend.
"Now, today, in New York City and many other parts of the country, a wage level under nine dollars an hour, nobody thinks a family could live on that.”
A New Yorker piece elaborated on Mayor de Blasio's remarks:
"The Mayor’s comments highlighted one of the things that is driving the so-called living-wage movement: an ethical judgment, shared by many Americans regardless of their party politics, that people who work a full week should be able to afford the basics of modern existence."
But not all Americans are on board with the "living wage" movement.
An opinion piece by Slate Magazine columnnist Reihan Salam argues that increasing minimum wage will slow job creation, cause prices to rise, and ultimately harm low-income workers more than it helps them.
Salam writes that "increasing the minimum wage so dramatically will damage the economic prospects of millions of vulnerable people."
More cities are debating the issue, with Portland, Maine and New York City also considering proposals to phase in minimum wage increases.