Signatures submitted for Arizona initiative that would raise minimum wage to $18

In Arizona, a campaign supporting an initiative to increase the minimum wage to $18 per hour submitted signatures on July 3, 2024. Voters would decide on the ballot initiative on Nov. 5, 2024. 

Raise the Wage AZ, the campaign sponsoring the initiative, submitted 354,278 signatures to state officials. At least 255,949 signatures must be verified.

The ballot initiative would increase the minimum wage from $14.35 to $18 per hour by 2026, and continue to increase the minimum wage based on the consumer price index. The measure would also gradually raise the wage of tipped employees to be equal to the wage of other employees by 2028.

Saru Jayaraman, the president of One Fair Wage, said, “Come November, we’re confident that the One Fair Wage ballot measure will fuel turnout from critical constituencies of voters who are ready to vote themselves a raise and ensure that all Arizonans, including tipped service industry workers, are able to earn a full and fair minimum wage to support themselves and their families.”

The Arizona Restaurant Association opposes the initiative and is supporting a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would allow for tipped workers to be paid 25% less per hour than the minimum wage if any tips received by the employee were not less than the minimum wage plus $2 for all hours worked.

Steve Chucri, the president of the Arizona Restaurant Association, said “One Fair Wage is a giveaway to the union bosses driving the effort but it would hike costs for Arizona families and be a job killer for Arizona restaurants and small businesses. If this initiative actually qualifies for the ballot, we are confident Arizonans will not be fooled by its deception … The Tipped Workers Protection Act offers a better alternative. This bipartisan, Arizona-led ballot measure will protect tipped workers’ pay, preserve jobs and save Arizona small businesses.”

Arizona voters previously decided on minimum wage measures in 2006 and 2016. In 2006, voters approved Proposition 202 by 65.37%-34.63%, which established a state minimum wage of $6.75 an hour (previously, Arizona did not have a state minimum wage deferred to the federal minimum wage, which was $5.15 an hour in 2006). In 2016, Arizona voters approved Proposition 206 by 58.33%-41.67%, which raised the minimum wage to $10 in 2017, and then incrementally to $12 by 2020, and created a right to paid sick time off from employment.

From 1996 to 2022, there were 28 minimum wage increase measures on the ballot. Voters approved 26 (92.86%) and rejected two (7.14%). In 2024, minimum wage initiatives have also qualified for the ballot in Alaska and California.