In Albuquerque, NM, Long Beach, CA, and San Jose, CA—all of the places Tuesday where an initiative to raise wages for working people was on the ballot—voters voted with strong (between three-fifths and two-thirds majorities) to raise the wage.
In Albuquerque, voters approved by 66 percent an initiative to raise the minimum wage in the city from $7.50 an hour to $8.50 an hour.
In San Jose, an idea that was started initially in a sociology class at San Jose State University led to students organizing and leading a campaign to raise the city’s minimum wage from the state minimum of $8 per hour to $10 per hour. Voters approved the measure by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin. And in Long Beach, a union-backed campaign to raise the minimum wage at hotels with more than 100 employees to $13 per hour and mandating five paid sick days per year passed easily. Unions mobilized for the measure, hoping that its passage would make it easier to organize the Long Beach hotel and tourism industry.
Nationwide, the minimum wage has languished at $7.25 for workers since 2009.
The victories will likely give momentum to efforts in other states to raise the minimum wage (strong pushes are likely next year in Illinois and New York), and on the federal level, where Tom Harkin has proposed raising the wage to $9.80 per hour by 2014. There are 4.5 million workers in the United States who work at or below the minimum wage.
Awaiting the President (Re)-Elect in Chicago—George Zornick, 12:26 am
The crowd at Obama’s now-officially-a-victory-rally went absolutely nuts when MSNBC, the first network to make the call, announced that Obama had won re-election. The pandemonium lasted through CNN’s subsequent call, though alas everyone here was denied the pleasure of seeing Fox News call the race.
A defiant rendition of “How You Like Me Now” blasted from the speaker system, and I’m not sure people have stopped dancing. Cheers erupt as different results continue to flash by overhead—including, I should note, the passage of two marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington state.
Now we await the president (re)-elect.
Supporters of President Barack Obama react to favorable media projections at the McCormick Place during an election night watch party in Chicago on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)