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On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, $15 Minimum Wage Passes Out of VA Senate Commerce and Labor Committee

"Dr. King's dream encompassed not only civil rights but economic empowerment." - VA AFL-CIO

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See below for statements by Progress Virginia and the Virginia AFL-CIO on Senate Bill 1 (SB1) – to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour starting in 2026 – “as it successfully reported out of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee today.” As the Virginia AFL-CIO statement says, “SB1’s passage on MLK Day resonates with the spirit of equality and justice, moving us closer to realizing the dream where all workers, no matter their race or background, can live with dignity and prosperity.” Good stuff!

P.S. Of course, MAGA Gov. Glenn Youngkin would have to sign this bill into law, which is…unlikely? But we’ll see, maybe a miracle will happen?

$15 Minimum Wage Clears First Hurdle To Becoming Law 
Richmond, Virginia—Activists and working families are celebrating today as SB1, sponsored by Senator Louise Lucas, passed today in a Senate Committee. The bill would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour starting in 2026. The next step is for SB1 to go to the Senate Finance Committee for a vote before being voted on by the full Senate. While we are thrilled that the bill has cleared this first hurdle toward becoming law, we are watching with anticipation to see what Governor Youngkin will do when if the bill makes it to his desk.
“No one should have to choose between putting food on the dinner table and keeping the lights on, but until the minimum wage is increased to at least $15 an hour, that’s what many families in our community are struggling with,” LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “It is exciting that SB1 has passed today, but we will continue to put pressure on our legislators and, in particular, Governor Youngkin to ensure this bill becomes law. Working families deserve a raise, and we won’t stop fighting until we make that a reality.”
Background:
SB1 was reported and referred to the Senate Finance Committee by a margin of 9-6.
SB1 will increase the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour on January 1, 2025 and $15.00 an hour on January 1, 2026.
The minimum wage is currently $12.00 an hour.
If the minimum wage kept up with productivity, the wage would be $21.50 per hour.

Virginia AFL-CIO Applauds Advancement of Bill to Raise Minimum Wage Out of Senate Commerce and Labor Committee

Virginia AFL-CIO Stands Firm on SB1 as Virginia Inches Closer to Minimum Wage Increase for Hardworking Virginians 

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia AFL-CIO expresses strong support for Senate Bill 1 (SB1) as it successfully reported out of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee today. SB1 re-enacts Virginia’s minimum wage to meet a $15 per hour minimum by 2026. Since the enactment of legislation in 2020, Virginia’s minimum wage has incrementally increased from $7.25 per hour to $12 per hour over the last three years.

This momentum is supported by the majority of Virginians, as highlighted in a Wason Center poll in 2021. A majority (53%) of Virginians supported raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Notably, this issue extends across party lines, with 66% of independents and 61% of moderates in support.

Virginia AFL-CIO emphasizes the critical need to index minimum wage increases to inflation, rectifying the disparity between wages and the rising cost of living. The minimum wage has failed to keep pace with inflation, leading to a decline in real wages over the past 45 years.

Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays issued the following statement:

“As we commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, it is fitting that we are taking a step towards fair pay in Virginia. Dr. King’s dream encompassed not only civil rights but economic empowerment. SB1’s passage on MLK Day resonates with the spirit of equality and justice, moving us closer to realizing the dream where all workers, no matter their race or background, can live with dignity and prosperity.”

As Virginia pushes forward with SB1, Virginia AFL-CIO stands resolute in its call for a fair and indexed minimum wage – one that ensures a dignified standard of living for all workers in the Commonwealth and keeps our workers afloat in the face of rising costs and economic challenges.

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Virginia AFL-CIO is a labor organization that represents over 330,000 union members and their families within the Commonwealth. VA AFL-CIO is a state federation of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) working tirelessly to improve the lives of working people.

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