By Paul Street for Truthdig. Two things are clear going forward. First, progressives hoping to defeat Trump and Trumpism will need to drive a class wedge between the new administration’s big basket of deplorable, super-wealthy plutocrats and the president’s conservative WWC base. Second, Trump is going to provide a lot of ammunition for that wedge-building task with policies that mock his posture as some kind of great white working-class hero. It is distressing that candidate Trump got away with taking that populist pose in the first place. Born to significant real estate wealth, Trump owed his rise to hyper-opulence “to his relentless manipulation of the corporate-controlled media market … to increase the market value of his name, which he then licensed to be sold. … The result,” author Mike Lofgren notes, “was Trump resorts, Trump steaks, even Trump dietary supplements retailed through multilevel marketing, the polite biz school euphemism for a pyramid scheme. As for Trump University, the principal lesson it imparted … was how to avoid being victimized by such scams in the future. … Such is Donald Trump, friend of the working class.”
By Joy First for National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We have a madman in the White House. Yet, unlikely acts of resistance are popping up all over the country from the large “Resist” banner hanging from a construction crane near the White House, to the National Park Rangers in the Badlands creating an alternative Twitter account, to mother’s groups who are putting aside talk of their children while they write letters to Congress, to the 60 programmers and scientists who were gathered at the Department of Information Studies building at the University of California-Los Angeles, harvesting important government data before Trump has a chance to disappear it. There is so much going on and so many ways we can get involved. This is the time we have been waiting for to see real change in the world. What kind of world will we leave for our children and grandchildren? The only way we will bring change is to keep the hope and rise up, rise up together and resist. The time has come and we will prevail in our struggle for peace and justice for all.
By Jack Temple for Fight for 15. After California and New York officially made $15/hour the law of the land on Monday, pundits and observers around the country turned their attention to the workers who made these historic wage increases possible: Two Fight for $15 leaders from New York and California – Manhattan McDonald’s worker Jorel Ware and LA McDonald’s worker Anggie Godoy – wrote in the Huffington Post this week about how speaking out on the job created real change in their states: “Since the time when we each first joined the Fight for $15, we have learned that the way working people win justice is by joining together and taking a stand. Our wins this week from coast to coast show more than anything the power of workers organizing.” And in the LA Times on Monday, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry summarized how workers have flipped the politics of the country by going on strike and speaking out: “The fearlessness of the workers has made elected officials understand that there is huge wind at their back. We’re proud that it created a situation where both New York and California were dueling at the same time. […] It’s how the movement has created more than we even imagined possible before.”
By Jonathan Rosenblum for AlterNet. Millions of workers across the country have won wage hikes under the banner of $15, and this week many more in California stand poised to join the parade. But three and a half years after the first picket sign was hoisted demanding $15/hour and union recognition, very few minimum wage workers are actually getting paid that much. That’s because among those crafting wage legislation, it’s become an axiom that increases must be phased in over time for the sake of business and economic stability. California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez reflects a prevailing establishment view that what’s needed is “a reasonable, measured approach that would prevent sticker shock for businesses.” Newly adopted $15 minimum wage laws have been unveiled with great fanfare and media coverage. But lost in the headlines is the reality that because of phase-in schedules, workers won’t actually see $15/hour in their pay for three, five or even seven years.
By Bruce Covert for Think Progress. If 2014 was the year where the majority of states got on board with a higher minimum wage than the federal level of $7.25 an hour, 2015 was the year the rallying cry for a $15 minimum wage gained serious legislative traction. This year, three California cities — Emeryville, Los Angeles, and Mountain View — all passedminimum wage increases that will eventually bring them up to $15 an hour. Meanwhile, New York State enacted an eventual $15 minimum wage for its fast food workforce, while Massachusetts enacted one for its home care workers. Those increases came on top of previous progress: SeaTac and Seattle in Washington and San Francisco in California passed $15 minimums in 2014.
By Giovanna Vitale for Fight For $15. An enormous group of underpaid Floridians busted through police lines in Miami Thursday evening on their way to GOP debate, where they’re calling on the candidates to stand with the nearly four million Floridians who make less than $15. Chanting “we work, we sweat, put $15 in our checks,” the group stormed through the University of Miami campus and up to the front gate of the BankUnited Center–as stunned Republican debate goers looked on. The crowd of hundreds forced police to shut down Ponce de Leon Avenue, the main street in front of the debate venue.
By Giovanna Frank-Vitale for Fight For $15. A New York Times editorial, Teresa Tritch details what happened with Harry Truman doubled the minimum wage in 1950 from 40 cents to 75 cents an hour: “By December 1950, when the 75-cent minimum had been in place for nearly a year, [the unemployment rate] had fallen to 4.3 percent. By December 1951, it was 3.1 percent and by December 1952, it was 2.7 percent.” In an editorial Friday, the Times criticizes laws that industry-backed legislators are trying to quietly pass through state houses nationwide to nullify local efforts to raise the minimum wage. The editorial board writes on a situation unfolding now: “In Alabama, a pre-emption effort introduced this month seeks to nullify a law passed last year by the Birmingham City Council for a citywide minimum wage of $10.10 an hour by mid-2017. If enacted, the state bill would also torpedo efforts to adopt local minimum wages in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa.
By Andy Rosen for Boston Globe – State Police arrested six activists Monday at Logan Airport after dozens of activists flooded into a terminal to protest the treatment of workers at the travel hub, shouting slogans decrying “poverty wages” as some refused troopers’ orders to disperse. The event came as part of a national string of protests to draw attention to the wages paid to people who perform airport jobs like checking bags or cleaning terminals and airplanes. Though the employees have jobs at airports, they generally work for companies hired by airlines.
By Giovanna Vitale and Jack Temple for #FightFor15. Fast-food workers announced Friday that an unprecedented wave of strikes and actions calling for $15 and union rights will hit this primary season to hammer home to candidates that the nearly 64 million Americans paid less than $15 an hour are a voting bloc that cannot be ignored. Workers will also continue to collect signatures on their Fight for $15 Voter Agenda, a five-point platform that launched late last year and calls for $15 and union rights, affordable child care, quality long-term care, racial justice and immigration reform—issues identified by underpaid workers as key factors in whether they will go to the polls for a candidate.
By Ned Resnikoff for Aljazeera – Current and former McDonald’s workers who accuse the fast-food giant of illegal union-busting will get their day in court on Monday, when an administrative law judge is expected to begin hearing arguments in a major unfair labor practice suit. The Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will represent the workers in a case that could have wide-ranging consequences for the McDonald’s franchising model.