Minimum wage victories swept the nation in 2016, with $15 winning in Washington D.C., parts of Oregon and New York, the entire state of California and more, resulting in raises for 11.8 million people. In the past four years of the nationwide fight for $15, low-wage workers have won $62 billion in wage increases (NELP report).
In Minnesota, as in Ohio most recently, the state government could block workers’ rights legislation at the local level. It’s called pre-emption, and it’s been happening in states across the country. And at the national level, Trump has even appointed a Fast Food CEO as labor secretary, someone who says he doesn’t believe in a minimum wage!
Watch, share, and retweet the 15 Now MN video on pre-emption:
— 15 Now Minnesota (@15NowMN) January 11, 2017
Our movements have won tremendous victories since fast-food workers first took strike action in 2012. Low-wage workers pushed $15/hr on the agenda in the first place, and it’s going to take a powerful movement of low-wage workers to fight back against people like Trump and Andrew Puzder, the CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr, and the President-elect’s pick for the new Secretary of Labor. Puzder is against raising minimum wage, fiercely anti-union, and a strong advocate for “trickle down” economics. That makes sense. The average full time Hardee’s worker makes $15,130 a year. Meanwhile, Andrew Puzder made $17,162……. a day!
Puzder will fit right into the new administration. In addition to its rampant poverty wages, Hardee’s ads have been criticized for objectifying women. When asked about this, Puzder said “I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.”
Puzder claims that paying people a living wage will be an added regulatory cost that businesses will have to offset by increasing unemployment, which data clearly shows is not the case. According to a recent release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the city of Seattle, which passed a $15 ordinance almost 2 years ago, hit a new cycle low of 3.4% unemployment.
When people like Trump and Puzder say “make America great again”, they mean to make their billionaire buddies richer at the expense of working people. We can’t wait for Trump’s team to put forth “trickle down” policies that will only benefit people like Trump and their colleagues. We need to build mass movements to fight against right-wing attacks and for working people.
Big business interests will use every tool they have to continue raking in record profits: whether it’s lobbying for a tip penalty and other carve-outs that undermine minimum wage, or by ramming through pre-emption legislation across the states.
We need to continue building our movement, to demand that elected officials don’t leave the door open for Trump’s agenda and corporate attacks!
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