New minimum-wage legislation passed in the Democratically-controlled Connecticut Senate by a 21-14 vote along party lines. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont has already said he will sign it, reports the Huffington Post.
If the bill becomes law, the state minimum wage will increase from the current $10.10 an hour to $11 in October 2019, and then rise by a dollar per year until it reaches the target of $15 an hour in 2023. After that, the wage floor will rise alongside the cost of living, by taking into account an inflation index.
Floor speeches before the vote were comprised of passionate arguments from both parties, with Democrats fervently arguing in favor of the law, and Republicans expressing concern that it would result in job loss for the state.
Union-backed movement Fight for $15 considers this bill a victory, with member and Hartford McDonald’s worker Joseph Franklin saying:
“When fast-food workers walked off the job nearly seven years ago demanding $15 and a union, nobody thought we had a chance. Our movement is gaining momentum.”
Connecticut will be the fourth state this year alone to pass a $15 minimum wage bill, joining New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland, as well as earlier proponents California, New York and Massachusetts. All seven states passed the bill under Democratic control, with the exception of Massachusetts, where the Democratic legislature overrode Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto.
Fight for $15 is primarily backed by The Service Employees International Union, which is pushing for a federal $15 minimum wage. Union president Mary Kay Henry says:
“[U]ntil that happens, the Fight for $15 and a Union will keep fighting for our day-one demands.”
The chances of such legislation passing at the national level seem small, despite individual state success. Republicans remain in control of the Senate and are not likely to initiate minimum wage legislation. Democrats have a majority in the House and have proposed a $15 bill but have not managed to gain support from moderate members in their own party.