The initial appeal for a minimum wage in the United States was in 1912, when Massachusetts organized a commission to recommend a non-compulsory minimum wage for women and children. Within the eight years that followed, approximately thirteen states, including Washington D.C., had passed their own minimum wage laws. Yet, the laws were declared unconstitutional for they interfered with businesses right to choose how much money they wanted to pay their employees. .
The federal government did not institute an official minimum wage law until 1933, as part of the Federal Industrial Recovery Act (FISA). President Franklin Delano Roosevelt strongly pushed for businesses to adopt a minimum wage. The minimum wage was at that time set for $0.25 per hour. In 1935, the minimum wage was abolished, being declared unconstitutional in the Supreme Court case of Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States. The minimum wage was then once again re-established in 1938 and again was at $0.25 per hour. .
Throughout the years following 1938, the minimum wage has continued to fluctuate in amount. Congress has the ability to change the minimum wage when they feel that the United States is experiencing a time of economic growth and low unemployment. In 1968, the minimum wage was at its highest purchasing value at $1.60 per hour. Yet, from January 1981 to April of 1990, the minimum wage was stationary at $3.35 per hour. The minimum wage was once again frozen from September 1, 2006 to April 23, 2007 at $5.15 per hour. Afterwards, Congress then gave states the right to choose their own minimum wage, and by 2010, fourteen states had done so. The city with the highest minimum wage at this time in the country was Santa Fe, New Mexico with $9.50. In 2009, San Francisco, California had a minimum wage of $9.79. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.50 per hour (as part of the FISA).
During 2014, there was an outcry of support from economists to increase the minimum wage.