The California legislature has approved a new bill that will raise minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016.
The state has not seen a rise in the minimum wage in over five years. But in a new bill proposed Assemblymember Luis Alejo and strongly supported by members of the union, minimum wage will now rise to $9 as soon as next summer.
The 25 percent increase was approved that California state legislator on Thursday despite opposition from large companies.
"The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs," Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. said according to Yahoo. "This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy."
Alejo also noted that now was the right time to support the bill in an effort to help middle class families recover from a long economic low.
"This is the time to raise the minimum wage to provide relief for hard-working families," Alejo told the Los Angeles Times, adding that about 3 of 5 minimum-wage earners are 26 or older. The bill will take effect slowly with the minimum wage rising from $8 an hour at current to $9 an hour by July 2014. In 2016, the wage will be raised again to $10.
California currently has the eighth-highest minimum wage in the country. Washington State has the highest at $9.19 an hour, followed by Oregon at $8.95 and Vermont at $8.60. Increasing wages even further is unfair according to some business owner who suggest the effect of the bill will be reduced hiring and the need to cut back on already existing employees.
This is an unprecedented wage hike," Jot Condie, president of the California Restaurant Association, told the LA Times.
A national movement began over the summer to raise minimum wage in fast food establishment to $15 an hour. Last month people walked out of their job in 60 different cities in an effort to protest for increased wages.
"It's a start," Shonda Roberts told the Times, "but I'm still going to fight for $15."