Target's announcement shows workers are winning the minimum wage war.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Payday is about to get a bit sweeter for many Target employees.

On Sept. 25, the retail giant announced plans to hike its minimum wage for all workers to $11 an hour beginning next month. The company also promised to increase that figure to $15 an hour by 2020.

"We’re proud to say that our team members are known for going the extra mile," Target explained on its website. "That kind of effort is something to recognize."

Notably, the wage hike beginning in October will also extend to the approximate 100,000 temporary workers the company plans on hiring for the holiday season.



Target's wage hike falls in line with the retailer's bold and decisively more progressive company mission taking shape in recent years.


The retailer has begun including plus-size mannequins on its sales floor, defended transgender rights in regards to its bathroom policy for customers, touted Photoshop-free swimwear ads this past summer, and fought to challenge gender norms in the way it presents certain products to kids — all moves that've came with varying degrees of backlash and praise from the public.

Target's promise to raise worker pay reflects a strengthening movement to increase the national minimum wage.

In 2012, hundreds of fast food workers in New York City walked off the job, demanding an increase in pay and union rights — a pivotal moment that put the Fight for $15 on the national radar.

Since then, cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, and Chicago have significantly raised their minimum wages, and many corporations — feeling the heat from consumers and advocates — have begun following suit. Even McDonald's and Walmart — two companies infamous for poor worker pay and protections — have made moves to raise their minimum wages.

But, as the Fight for $15 organization pointed out, those corporations need to do more.

"[Target is] proving that paying folks fair wages is good business, even in a tight retail market," the group said in a statement, in which they ask readers to "not be shy" in demanding Walmart and McDonald's "follow Target's lead."

As many outlets have reported, Target's wage hike reflects an ongoing heated competition among many major retailers to lead the way on worker pay.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Washington also seems to be taking note of the growing demand to prioritize workers. As polling shows widespread, bipartisan support among Americans to increase the federal minimum wage, congressional Democrats, for the first time in April, united behind legislation that would gradually raise pay to $15 an hour from coast to coast.

Target's wage hike shows yet another battle won in the fight for $15 — a fight that seems to be the favorite in winning the whole war.

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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.