The South’s most populous state took a step On Tuesday towards better wages for working families.
“Florida voters approved an amendment Tuesday to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the coming years.
Florida joins just seven other states in the process of raising their minimum wages to $15 an hour. And it’s the first state to raise the minimum wage to as high as $15 an hour via ballot measure.
The federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also supports a $15 minimum wage, while President Trump has said he believed the issue should be left up to states to decide.
The ballot win was another moment of success for labor and minimum wage advocates, who have won a series of statewide victories in recent years to raise the minimum wage, as consciousness about the struggles faced by low-wage workers to pay basic living expenses has grown.
This energy has galvanized the Fight for $15, an advocacy movement focused on getting corporate chains to lift wages to $15 an hour. The effort is backed by unions like the Service Employees International Union, which have organized protests and marches over the years around the country.
In the case of Florida, the initiative was due in large part to the work and backing of John Morgan, a lawyer and businessman in the Orlando area who bankrolled the expensive effort to get the measure on the ballot.
In an interview, Morgan said he spent more than $5 million of his own money on the effort, saying that he viewed the question of whether businesses would be required to pay a living wage to employees as an existential one in a wealthy country like the United States.
‘What I personally believe the unrest in America is really all about, whether you’re a Bernie bro or a Trump supporter in the Midwest — it’s about income inequality,’ he said. ‘Every great society can crumble because the haves have too much and the have-nots don’t have enough.'”
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