The General Assembly should accelerate the date for the Connecticut $15 minimum wage for “essential” low-wage workers. In this fraught time of COVID-19 and of social unrest laid bare by pervasive racial injustice, increasing the minimum wage to $15 now, rather than in 2023, is an important step for workers in essential businesses.
The majority of workers in Hartford and other Connecticut cities are paid less than $15 per hour. That information is found in a 2016 report of the Boston Federal Reserve. An even larger percentage of women and persons of color in those cities earn less than $15. Surprisingly, more than 30 percent of all Connecticut workers earn less than $15. Who are low-wage workers? They are home health and nurse aides, substitute teachers and classroom assistants, fast food and other food service workers, ticket takers, ushers, dishwashers, janitors, cleaners and housekeepers, Bradley airport baggage handlers, cashiers, retail clerks, child-care workers, hotel desk clerks, and dozens more.