Washington, D.C., could be the next local government to take action in a nationwide push to raise the minimum wage after the D.C. Council approved a measure Tuesday that would give the city a higher minimum wage than in any of the 50 states.
The measure, which would increase the minimum hourly pay rate from $8.25 to $11.50, will need a final vote before the council before it is sent on to Mayor Vincent C. Gray. Though all 13 members of the council supported the rate increase, it’s not clear that the mayor will sign off on such a significant wage hike. Gray has endorsed a smaller increase to $10 an hour.
Nineteen states and the District have minimum wages higher than the federal government’s $7.25-an-hour rate, and a hike to $11.50 would put the District’s wage at the top, as shown below. But the city’s rate would not be the highest among local governments. That ranking belongs to SeaTac, the suburban home to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where voters approved a $15 minimum wage in November.
States and municipalities across the country have been raising their minimum wages in light of a stalled federal effort. And fast-food workers in 100 cities are planning a coordinated strike on Thursday to call for a rate hike. Lawmakers in four states — California, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island — have passed bills that will raise the minimum wage in 2014, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. And voters in New Jersey voted to do the same in November.