In the State of the Union Address on Jan 21, 2014, President Obama urged support for a bill to raise minimum wage to $10.10 from the current $7.25. The president noted that easing employees’ financial stress improved moral and boosted productivity.
Stiff opposition is coming from employers, especially from the restaurant industry. They warn if the cash tip wage rate, currently $2.13/ hr, raises, customers will see higher prices and fewer waitstaff. Speculation is if wages increase, employers will have to lay off workers to make ends meet.
Currently, twenty-one states already have higher minimum wages than the federal requirement. And over half of the states have legislation in progress that will in the next few years raise their minimum state wages, several up to $10.10, and a few over that amount.
The President said he “intends to lead by example.” On February 12, 2014 he signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 starting in 2015. He said, “if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”