Despite two-thirds of Americans supporting raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, it has stood at $7.25 an hour since July 2009 when it was last increased. Since then, it has lost 14.8% of its purchasing power to inflation (in 2018 dollars), and 28.6% less than it was at its peak in terms of purchasing power in 1968.
In fact, had the federal minimum wage kept pace with workers’ productivity since 1968 the inflation-adjusted minimum wage would be $24 an hour.
The labor movement has long advocated that working people share in the wealth we help create and our incomes should rise as we become more productive. Increasing the federal minimum wage would be a positive step in rewriting the rules of our economy so that it benefits working people.
Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would raise wages of up to 27.3 million workers and lift 1.3 million families out of poverty, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.
Even in a struggling economy, studies have shown that increasing the minimum wages doesn’t damage job growth—in fact, a landmark study found the opposite; employment increased as did consumer spending in the years following the increase.
People in unions are standing united for better pay and benefits.