UNITED STATES — January 4, 2019 — In 2019, 20 states will begin unrolling minimum wage increases for hourly workers.  According to Huffington Post, the federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009, and many hourly workers have found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet as their wages have failed to keep pace with inflation.

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) is a nonprofit organization that publishes research and advocates for workers’ issues, including higher pay. According to the NELP, eight of these states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Washington State) will phase in wage increases that will ultimately take their minimum wage up to $12 to $15 an hour, and at least 13 counties and cities will implement $15 an hour or more as of January 1.

Once the wage increases are fully phased in, the NELP predicts that 17 million workers across the U.S. will be earning higher pay. In a statement released by NELP, Executive Director Christine Owens explained, “Minimum wage increases resonate so strongly with so many Americans because people feel like they’re working harder than ever but have little to show for it.”

Owens went on to say, “The American people believe in the value of work — and that workers deserve to be valued. That’s why there’s such strong support for raising the minimum wage. People believe it’s the right thing to do, and they understand it’s one of the best ways to lift the incomes of working families who really need that money.”

These increases come six years after the 2012 Fight for $15 movement was launched by hourly workers in New York City. The initiative is actively spreading, and they continue to call for wage increases and a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour, according to Huffington Post.