The debate was magnified when Wal-Mart got unwanted attention for a store-based holiday food drive for its own needy workers, and when President Obama announced his support for legislation that would raise the national minimum hourly wage of $7.25 for the first time since 2007.
While federal efforts to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 are expected to continue to languish in 2014, the New Year will usher in new and higher minimum-wage laws in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
Minimum wages will also go up in nine other states that have existing laws linking increases to inflation. Those states are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
The advent of so much state-based action — California will raise its minimum wage in July — got us thinking about what’s happened to the more than two-decades-old “living wage” movement.