President Barack Obama promised a “year of action” in his State of the Union address last month, and he made good on his word Wednesday by raising the minimum wage for new federal contract workers.
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The president signed an executive order hiking the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 an hour for contract workers.
According to the White House, the pay increase will impact 28 million workers. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2007, despite calls from service workers who have been holding strikes and rallies throughout the country since November pushing for an increase to $15 an hour.
The White House claims the real value of the minimum wage has fallen by nearly one-third since its peak in 1968. Today, a full-time minimum wage worker makes $14,500 per year.
Some states have taken it upon themselves to raise the minimum wage, with New Jersey raising it in November to $8.25 an hour and more recently, the Washington, D.C., city council approved a raise to the minimum wage in the district to $11.50 a hour in December.