Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are only a few days left in our critical Mid-Year Campaign and we truly might not make it without your help.
Please join us. If you rely on independent media, support Common Dreams today. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Demonstrators rally in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. (Photo: United Healthcare Workers East–Maryland/DC Division)  

From 'Too Radical' to Spreading Nationwide: Maryland Becomes 6th State to Pass $15 Minimum Wage

"We're not done. Next we will pass a national $15 minimum wage," said Sen. Bernie Sanders

Jake Johnson

In the latest major victory for the Fight for $15 movement, Maryland on Thursday became the sixth state to pass $15 minimum wage legislation after lawmakers overrode the veto of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

"Just a few years ago we were told a $15 an hour was 'too radical. Well, today, Maryland became the sixth state to send the loud and clear message that a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

"More than six years ago, when we stood up and went on strike for $15 an hour and a union, our demands were dismissed," Fight for $15 said in a statement. "But we kept marching and we kept fighting, forcing the country to see that we simply could not survive on $7.25."

"Maryland is the sixth state to pass a $15 minimum wage—and the third in under two months," Fight for $15 continued, referring to Illinois and New Jersey's recent minimum wage hikes. "Nearly 30 percent of U.S. workers are now coSvered by a $15 minimum wage. It's clear $15 an hour is the minimum any worker, anywhere, needs to get by, and we'll keep standing up and fighting for $15 and union rights until we win everywhere."

Under Maryland's new law, the higher minimum will be phased in over several years, reaching $15 an hour for companies with 15 or more employees by 2025. Smaller companies will have to pay their workers $15 an hour by 2026.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—the lead Senate sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act, which would hike the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024—applauded Maryland lawmakers for taking action.

"Just a few years ago we were told a $15 an hour was 'too radical," the senator and 2020 presidential candidate tweeted Thursday. "Well, today, Maryland became the sixth state to send the loud and clear message that a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it."

"We're not done," Sanders added. "Next we will pass a national $15 minimum wage."

Maryland's passage of $15 minimum wage legislation comes as centrist Democrats are reportedly threatening to oppose the House version of the Raise the Wage Act, led by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).

Scott's legislation is currently co-sponsored by over 200 House Democrats.

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour "would lift pay for a quarter of all workers in the United States, including those in the 21 states stuck at the current federal level of $7.25."

"The victory in Maryland... underscores that $15 is the new mainstream consensus in the United States," Christine Owens, NELP's executive director, said in a statement Thursday. "Workers are facing the same spiraling costs of living everywhere and we're seeing voters demand progressive leadership on economic and other issues."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Flint Residents 'Disgusted' After Court Throws Out Indictments of Top Officials

"It has become increasingly clear that the judicial system is not a viable option for a poor majority Black community facing injustice," said Flint Rising.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sanders, Fetterman Urge Buttigieg to Fine Airlines Over Flight Cancellations

"The American people are sick of airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute, and delaying flights for hours on end," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·


In Blow to Voting Rights, SCOTUS Saves Louisiana's Racially Rigged Electoral Map

"Black Louisianans deserve fair representation. The fight for racial justice and equality is far from over," vowed one civil rights group.

Brett Wilkins ·


Watching US With Horror, European Groups Push Leaders to Strengthen Abortion Rights

"This is an important moment for leaders across Europe who are committed to reproductive rights to lead by example and galvanize action in their own countries," said one campaigner.

Jake Johnson ·


Women Face Chaos, Torment as Abortion Clinics Shutter Across US

Clinic workers are attempting to get patients appointments out-of-state while women stockpile emergency contraception, fearing overcrowded clinics even in states that protect reproductive rights.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo