By Editors of PRWatch – Voters spoke very clearly on November 8 when they elected to raise the minimum wage in Arizona and Maine, along with Colorado and Washington State. But those wins, the democratic process, and the express will of the people are being defied and denied in Arizona and Maine, where corporate lobbyists and their legislative allies are working to block, delay, even rewrite the laws approved on Election Day. These efforts to flout voter-approved laws are part of ongoing conservative and corporate-backed strategies to keep wages low.
By Fight for Fifteen. NATIONWIDE – Strikes by baggage handlers and cabin cleaners at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Uber drivers in two-dozen cities, hospital workers in Pittsburgh and McDonald’s and other fast-food cooks and cashiers from coast to coast, combined with mass civil disobedience by working Americans across the service economy, will headline a nationwide Fight for $15 day of disruption Tuesday. In addition to the strikes demanding $15 and union rights, the workers will wage their most disruptive protests yet to show they will not back down in the face of newly-elected politicians and newly-empowered corporate special interests who threaten an extremist agenda to move the country to the right. The protests, at 20 major airports, which serve 2 million passengers a day, and outside McDonald’s restaurants from Durham to Denver, will underscore that any efforts to block wage increases, gut workers’ rights or healthcare, deport immigrants, or support racism or racist policies, will be met with unrelenting opposition by workers in the Fight for $15.
By Liz Essley Whyte for the Center for Public Integrity. Despite massive losses for Democrats in races from the White House to governors’ offices Tuesday, those on the left celebrated some significant victories with state ballot measures. From marijuana to minimum wage to gun control laws, they won many key initiatives among the 162 statewide measures — part of a concerted plan put in motion more than a year ago to circumvent Republican-led legislatures and take policy questions directly to voters. Progressive advocates appeared to lose major healthcare initiatives in California and Colorado, however. The Center for Public Integrity tracked how those fighting over these measures shaped their messages with TV ads, typically an expensive yet far-reaching endeavor. Media tracker Kantar Media/CMAG estimates that more than $384 million was spent through Monday just to air TV ads about such measures this election.
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Voters, “tired of waiting” for federal lawmakers, will soon be casting their ballot in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington to raise the grossly inadequate minimum wage and, advocates hope, raise the standard of living for roughly 2.1 million Americans. While none of the four ballot measures goes so far as to call for the $15 an hour wage that has been the rallying cry of the low wage worker movement and which became a pillar of Sen.
By Julie Chinitz for Our Future – Fifteen dollars shouldn’t be too much to ask – or demand. In almost every state, a worker needs more than $15 an hour to make ends meet. Add in student debt, and the minimum living wage shoots up to $18.67 an hour nationally. A family with children needs significantly more. That’s according to new research from People’s Action Institute, which calculates the national living wage at $17.28.
By Molly Cain for Talk Poverty – Raising the minimum wage would help a lot of Americans. It would raise wages for 35 million workers, bring 4.5 million people out of poverty, and reduce the wage gaps that plague women and people of color. Local movements to raise the minimum wage have started to take hold—30 cities have raised their minimum wages since 2014—but the minimum wage has not been increased at the federal level for seven years.
By Antoin Adams for The Huffington Post – In the nearly 100 degree heat this weekend, I joined thousands of fast-food and other underpaid workers in Richmond, VA—the capital of the former Confederacy— to lead the first-ever Fight for $15 National Convention. It wasn’t a typical convention like you see on TV: We didn’t endorse any candidates, and there weren’t speeches from politicians. Instead, we came together in Richmond to highlight the racist policies that are holding back workers of color nationwide, and to mobilize the 64 million Americans paid less than $15/hour ahead of the 2016 election.
By Katie Johnston for Boston Globe – Darius Cephas didn’t realize he was about to help spark a revolution when a labor organizer walked into the Dorchester McDonald’s where he worked and told him about a campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and form a fast-food industry union. Cephas, now 25, was ready for a fight. Working low-wage jobs since he was 14 to help his mother, he had dropped out of trade school to take care of her when she had a stroke. He and his McDonald’s co-workers had just been talking about how little they were paid, with many trying to support families on $8 or $9 an hour.
By Staff of DBK – Almost 20 students blocked traffic on Campus Drive Friday afternoon to protest the campus minimum wage, which sits $1.30 below the Prince George’s County minimum wages. Students sat on the crosswalk in between the engineering fields and Glenn L. Martin Hall, clapping and chanting, stopping traffic for eight minutes and 25 seconds, symbolizing the hourly wage for on-campus workers. Others supporting the rally joined in their clapping and chanting from the sidewalk.
By Jana Kasperkevic for The Guardian – Fast-food workers from Birmingham, Alabama, are suing their state legislature after it passed a law that put a stop to their expected pay raise. Nine months ago, the workers scored a major victory as Birmingham became the first city in the deep south to pass a law enacting a higher minimum wage. At the time, the city council agreed to increase the local minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 by July 2016 and to $10.10 by July 2017.
For Cristian Farias for The Huffington Post – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a sweeping constitutional challenge to Seattle’s minimum wage law, in what could have been a test case for future legal attacks on similar measures across the country. In a one-line order, the justices declined to hear a case by the International Franchise Association and a group of Seattle franchisees, which had said in court papers that the city’s gradual wage increase to $15 discriminates against them in a way that violates the Constitution’s commerce clause.
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 Staff of Million Student March – On November 12, the first #MillionStudentMarch took place on 115 campuses across the country. On April 13th, we’re doing it again, this time joining forces with Black Liberation Collective, the group behind the Mizzou Movement, to say “no” to racism and student debt! Students nationwide will be coming together to challenge the racism of Donald Trump and the corporate establishment.
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.