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Raising the Floor on Pay

New York Times (04/09/12) Steven Greenhouse

Pressure to boost the minimum wage is rising as the economy recovers at a slow pace and income inequality becomes a focus of the presidential campaign. The federal minimum wage rose to $7.25 per hour in July 2009, but lawmakers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and other states are taking steps to raise it even higher. Washington currently has the highest minimum wage of $9.04 per hour, but in Massachusetts, a measure was approved by the joint committee on labor to boost the minimum wage to $10 per hour. Meanwhile, some labor groups are pushing for U.S. Senate Labor Committee chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) to lead a charge to boost the federal minimum wage to $9.80 per hour over the next two years.