Living-Wage Movement

Do laws requiring higher wages cause unemployment?


Since Baltimore became the first U.S. city to adopt a so-called living-wage ordinance in 1994, nearly 100 cities and counties have mandated wage floors above the $5.15-an-hour federal minimum. Relatively few workers take home bigger paychecks — perhaps 100,000 of the nation's 134 million workers. Moreover, living-wage ordinances are banned in one state, and others may follow suit. While the living-wage trend is still gaining momentum, economists disagree whether the pay increases are overshadowed by reductions in the number of jobs. Meanwhile, living-wage campaigns are active in more than 100 cities, including Santa Monica, Calif., where voters will decide in November on a $10.50 beachfront minimum.

A member of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) urges support for a referendum to raise the ...

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