Minimum wage workers are expecting larger paychecks

Missouri voters approve minimum wage increase	 	 	 			Getty Images

Arkansas and Missouri voted on Tuesday to approve measures raising the states' minimum wages.

The initiative comes on the heels of Missouri voters rejecting Missouri's "right-to-work" proposition in the 2018 August primary. Meanwhile, Congress hasn't increased the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour in nearly a decade. Voters in Missouri approved the bill that will increase the minimum wage to $8.60 an hour in 2019. However, the minimum wage has been the subject of much debate within the Missouri legislature for the last several years.

In Arkansas, the minimum wage will gradually rise from $8.50 an hour now to $11 in 2021.

Roughly two-thirds of Arkansans voted "Yes" to Arkansas Issue 5, the Minimum Wage Increase Initiative. The minimum wage in both cities reverted back to $7.70 per hour-the Missouri state minimum wage at that time. Arkansas now has a minimum wage of $8.50 per hour.

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According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, proponents of Prop B (including Raise Up Missouri, Sixteen Thirty Fund, and the Black Progressive Action Coalition) spent almost $6 million on the measure.

Owens said she expects the new Democratic-led House will push for a $15 minimum wage and advocate other measures to protect workers and improve jobs. Currently, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have higher minimum wages than the federal rate, according to EPI.

Ankley has taken notice of this appreciation, saying "I'm a young women who's trying to make it on my own and so being able to have more than minimum wage makes me feel grateful for the company that i'm working for. because i know they have a higher value in me". Preparations should include informing all managers of the wage hike as well as adjusting payroll systems and pay practices to comply with the new law.

"Across the board, voters responded to a progressive agenda that included key worker issues such as expanded health care access, higher minimum wages, and fair elections", said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.

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