It started with Occupy three years ago when outrage against inequality poured onto the streets. Then fast food workers in New York went on strike calling for 15, and the movement spread across the country.
Last fall, a small town south of Seattle called SeaTac passed a referendum to raise the minimum wage to 15 while socialist Kshama Sawant defeated a corporate Democrat and won a seat on the Seattle City Council by campaigning for 15.
Now fast food workers are walking off the job in 150 cities across the U.S. and 30 countries around the world on May 15th and Seattle is on the verge of becoming the first major city to win 15. Under pressure from Kshama Sawant and the campaign she launched called 15 Now, the Seattle Mayor has put forward a proposal for $15 an hour minimum wage.
This historic achievement shows the power of our movement. But the Mayor’s proposal also bears the mark of big business with loopholes like a delayed phase-in to get up to 15 over many years. 15 Now in Seattle is pushing ahead to close the corporate loopholes and win the strongest possible 15.
The key to our success is building maximum pressure from below.
How did Seattle get this far?
15 Now set up 10 action groups in neighborhoods across the city mobilizing in the streets and at public forums. We always campaigned for the strongest 15 without unnecessary delays, loopholes or exemptions.
At every stage, we exposed big business attempts to water down 15 or hide behind the concerns of small business. We fought for the widest possible unity of activists, labor and community groups behind this bold message and bold campaign.
The Democratic Mayor said he supported 15 but wanted to do it in a way “that would work for business too.” Translation: “The political establishment is forced to accept 15 but we want to water it down as much as possible for our big business friends who fund our election campaigns.”
In contrast, socialist city councilmember Kshama Sawant was a voice for the movement always defending 15 and the interests of working people not big business. It is this movement, resting on the strength of working people getting active and organized, that is carrying us towards victory.
If we can win in Seattle we can win everywhere!
Join 15 Now. Donate to help us win.