After a comprehensive deliberation, labor unions and lawmakers in California reached a deal. The minimum wage in the state will be raised from $10 to $10.50 per hour, the highest minimum wage in the country.
The state Assembly passed the law with 48 to 26 votes while the Senate voted 26 to 12, approving the new law that will increase the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour starting next year. The maximum increase, which is expected to take effect in 2022, is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 4.
"At its core, this proposal is about fairness," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles.
"This is historic, and today I am proud to be a Californian," he added.
At present, the current minimum wage in California is $10 per hour, which is already the highest among all states. It will be increased to $10.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017, then to $11 in 2018, and increase $1 annually until 2022.
Companies who are running businesses with fewer than 26 employees would get an additional year to comply with the new law.
Opponents of the plan, however, think that it was rushed and did not include a larger group who negotiated the new ruling.
Assembly member Rocky Chávez, R-Oceanside, said that the law would lead to problems in the state's economy.
"This is an argument about economic justice," said Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles.
"Justice is not something that can be negotiated or compromised," he added, stressing that lawmakers should think of the problems encountered by working families in the state because of income inequality.
New York Plans To Do The Same
The state of New York is also planning to make the same move. Lawmakers are looking forward to negotiate over a proposal to gradually increase the minimum wage in the state.
At present, the minimum salary wage is at $9 per hour, which lawmakers are planning to increase to $15 by the end of 2018, a faster increase than what lawmakers in California approved.
The 2018 increase is eyed at New York City. The rest of the state will follow by 2021.
Photo: Tim Dorr | Flickr