Wage Watch: 4 red states could get a minimum wage hike on Election Day by Claire Zillman @FortuneMagazine October 31, 2014, 4:22 PM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Election Day on Tuesday will likely mark the transfer of Senate power from Democrats to Republicans and it could also give workers in four Republican-led states a new, higher minimum wage. In Alaska, voters will decide whether to raise the minimum wage from $7.75 to $8.75 by January 1, 2015, and then to $9.75 a year after that. South Dakotans will consider boosting state minimum wage by $1.25 to $8.50 on January 1, 2015. Nebraska voters will determine whether to hike its minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 in 2015, and then to $9 in 2016. Arkansas residents will vote yes or no to a measure to increase the state’s minimum wage from $6.25 to $7.50 on January 1, 2015, and then to $8 and $8.50 in the following two years. While a higher minimum wage is favored by a majority of Americans, it’s typically treated as a partisan issue among lawmakers, with Democrats supporting it as a wage booster and Republicans rejecting it as a jobs killer. That makes instituting a legislative minimum wage hike in Republican-led states a tough task. Ballot initiatives have become a viable alternative. For instance, New Jersey voters approved a ballot initiative to boost the state’s minimum pay from $7.25 to $8.25 with 61% of the vote last year after Republican Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation enacting a hike 10 months earlier. If the initiatives in those four states pass—and if a non-binding resolution in the blue state of Illinois passes and is acted on by the state—some 680,000 workers will get a raise, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis. The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center says that, since 1996, every minimum wage initiative that has appeared on statewide ballots—13 in total—has gained voter approval. Nurses to strike over subpar Ebola protections The National Nurses United union and its affiliate, California Nurses Association, announced Thursday that registered nurses plan to hold a two-day strike starting November 12 at 66 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics in California and at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. The nurses aim to press health care providers to put in place stronger safety protocols and training for workers who may confront cases of Ebola. The NNU has been active in calling for stronger protections for hospital staff since early October, when the first American case of Ebola spread from Thomas Eric Duncan to two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Chief among the nurses’ demands is that hospitals provide nurses and other health care workers with optimal personal protective equipment, including full-body hazmat suits, and conduct interactive training for hospital staff. Court: strippers are employees The great employee-versus-independent-contractor debate has recently threatened to upend the shipping business. On Thursday, it made waves in a decidedly more colorful industry—strip clubs. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in favor of a class of 6,500 strippers in a longstanding case against Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club, in Las Vegas, which bills itself as the world’s largest gentlemen’s club. The dancers have insisted that they were employees in a case filed in 2009, but the club has maintained that it simply supplied the venue for the women to perform, making them independent contractors. The court on Thursday determined that the club dictated dancers’ appearance, how they interacted with customers, and when they worked, all while making the strippers pay fees to the club itself and to its disc jockey. Thursday’s ruling sends the case back to district court, which will determine how much the dancers are owed—an amount that could reach into the millions of dollars.