Focus Shifts To Illinois In Next Push For $15 Minimum Wage

April 02, 2016
Activists rally for a $15 minimum wage outside of the McDonald's on Neil Street and Kirby Avenue in Champaign.

Activists rally for a $15 minimum wage outside of the McDonald's on Neil Street and Kirby Avenue in Champaign in a file photo from April 2015.

Hannah Meisel/Illinois Public Media (FILE)

California and New York -- where almost 1 in 5 Americans live -- are on their way to raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour. And the activists who spearheaded those efforts are now setting their sights on other similarly liberal, Democratic-led states.

Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington are among the states with active "Fight for $15'' efforts, and even economic experts who oppose the higher rate see it gaining momentum.  

The idea faces headwinds in more conservative and rural states in the South and the Midwest. But activists believe it is picking up steam, even if their two big victories to date were in two very receptive places: trend-setting, labor-friendly states with a high cost of living and a yawning gap between rich and poor.

Story source: WILL