17 million have received minimum wage increases since 2012, report claims

Robert Reich makes the case for higher minimum wage
Robert Reich makes the case for higher minimum wage

Efforts to raise the minimum wage have put more money in the pockets of roughly 17 million low income workers since 2012, a new report claims.

The report released Wednesday by the National Employment Law Project claims the "Fight for $15" -- a movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour -- has played a crucial role in these increases.

Paul Sonn, the report's co-author, said that causation between the Fight for $15 and the minimum wage increases can't directly be proven. But he said there's a big argument for its impact in raising public awareness and changing the national conversation.

"Lawmakers were stuck at increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25," said Yannet Lathrop, co-author of the report. "Now people are talking about $15 an hour."

Related: What you need to know about the minimum wage

The Fight for $15 movement began in November 2012 and the study by NELP, a workers rights group, looks at employees who have received pay increases since then.

The report evaluated minimum pay increases that resulted from city and state ordinances, executive actions and corporate policies.

Most of the workers included in the report have already begun to receive increases, which will build up gradually.

Of the 17 million workers who have received increases, 59% will eventually receive $15 an hour.

The most recent increases at the state level took place in March in New York and California, the first states to establish a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

The report comes as the Fight for $15 is planning to hold its largest strike ever on Thursday. Events will take place in 300 U.S. cities and more than 40 countries.

People who work in the fast-food industry, at airports, in education and who provide home and child care are expected to participate in the strikes.

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