Tag Archives: #15Now

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STATEMENT ON OREGON’S NEW MINIMUM WAGE: WILL THE BALLOT MEASURE CONTINUE?

via Oregonians for $15

On February 18th, Oregon’s state legislature gave final passage to a minimum wage bill that will move Oregon to the highest minimum wage in the nation. Although not a statewide $15, the partial and extended increase that will move 25 Portland area cities to $15 by 2023 is clearly the result of massive pressure brought on legislators and the business sector by 15 Now Oregon and the growing national movement for $15.Unfortunately,as all the living wage studies show$15 isn’t even enough in Portland right now let alone by 2023, andthe bill’s attempt to account for minor differences in cost of living throughout the state by phasing in three different regional minimum wages accomplishes little other than leaving hundreds of thousands of working people behind.

The bill increases the minimum wage in three tiers. In the 18 counties the bill defines as rural, the minimum wage increases to $12.50 by 2022. For the rest of the counties outside of the Portland Metro area the minimum wage increases to $13.50 by 2022. And for the 25 cities in the Portland Metro area, the minimum wage will increase $14.75 by 2022, and after the cost of living adjustment in 2023 the wage for those 25 cities will reach $15 per hour or higher.

Unfortunately $15 isn’t even enough in the Portland area right now, let alone by 2023. Furthermore, the bill’s attempt to account for minor differences in cost of living throughout the state by phasing in three different regional minimum wages accomplishes little other than leaving hundreds of thousands of working people behind.

Still, it is important to recognize the massive and historic significance for the broader movement in the fact that 25 cities in Oregon are now on a clearly defined path to a $15 minimum wage. We sincerely hope that victory serves to inspire others across the nation to continue to Fight for $15.

We recognize the significance in the fact that Oregon will now move to the highest minimum wage in the nation.

We also recognize the material importance of the fact that half a million low-wage workers and their families here in Oregon will now be getting raises of up to a dollar per hour every year for the next six years, raises that they had no guarantee of prior to the passage of this bill.

It is important to recognize and take stock of these things, recognize them for the victories that they are in and of themselves, and thank 15 Now Oregon, 15 Now PDX, Jobs with Justice, PCUN, OSEA, OFNHP, Laborers Local 483 and all the other organizations, low-wage workers, labor activists, and small business owners across the state who have poured their time and their effort, their hearts and souls into this struggle for the past two years. To all of you, we say thank you and we appreciate you.

At the same time, we also have to recognize that the new minimum wage plan for Oregon is a far cry from the statewide $15 minimum that Oregonians have been demanding for those past two years.

Aside from leaving most of Oregon behind at a lower minimum wage without restoring local control over minimum wage laws, perhaps the most glaring deficiency in the recently passed bill is that despite moving Oregon toward the highest minimum wage in the nation, it does not even begin to create a living wage anywhere in our state. It doesn’t create minimum wages that allow low-wage workers and their families to be self-sufficient. According to the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Oregon, a single parent needs anywhere from $15-23 per hour in one half of Oregon’s 36 counties in order afford the basics for her family. That study was conducted in 2014, not in 2023. Yes this bill does increase the minimum wage, but it is too low and too slow.

As this bill is clearly inadequate in providing a living wage for working Oregonians, we will continue collecting signatures for IP 41, the statewide $15 ballot initiative that phases in over three years, by 2019. At the same time, in light of the legislative bill’s passage there are a number of factors that need to be considered in honestly determining our continued viability for the 2016 election. Over the next month we will be having conversations with the members of our coalition and other stakeholders to examine the shifting political landscape around the minimum wage issue in Oregon. This landscape is still rapidly shifting. For example, it has already been announced that a new “bipartisan” minimum wage bill is being introduced to try and roll back the bill that just passed along party lines. Through these discussions it is our hope to discern the most strategic path forward for the continued struggle and agitation around a living wage and other issues of importance to Oregon’s working class.

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NY Times Editorial Board Calls for $15 Minimum Wage Nationwide

“Sooner or later, Congress has to set an adequate wage floor for the nation as a whole. If it does so in the near future, the new minimum should be $15.”
New York Times Editorial Board
Dec 26th, 2015 (Image via NY Times) 

We know the widespread support for a $15 minimum wage is because of the massive movement of low-wage workers organizing and building grassroots pressure to win. On January 1st, Seattle workers will get another raise in the steps toward $15/hour.

Can you donate $10, $15, or $25/month to win a $15/hour minimum wage nationwide?

We need to continue building support for $15/hour in 2016 in our communities and workplaces. Because of this growing workers’ movement, the mainstream press and establishment politicians have been forced to answer to workers’ rights. We know that without massive pressure from below, politics as-usual means little changes for working people and big business continues to make massive profits off poverty pay, unchallenged.

In five states and nine cities – including California, New York, Oregon and Washington, D.C. – voters and lawmakers will consider proposals in 2016 to gradually raise minimum wages to $15 an hour.

The ballot initiatives and pending legislation will build on momentum from this year, in which 14 states and localities used laws, executive orders and other procedures to lift wages for all or part of their work forces to $15 an hour.”

Across the country, $15/hour is a fight we can win. 

Photo via Black Lives Matter Minneapolis

Statement of Solidarity with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and #Justice4Jamar

We urge all supporters of 15 Now Minnesota to fight for #Justice4Jamar by joining the 4th precinct occupation, donating to the legal fund, or writing a letter to the editor. Statement written by 15 Now MN steering committee, photo via Black Lives Matter Minneapolis. 

The whole world is watching the latest battleground in the movement for black lives. For several days, large crowds have gathered to demand #Justice4Jamar. Jamar Clark died of a gunshot wound to the head inflicted by a police officer last week. Multiple witnesses say he was shot while handcuffed, “execution style.” Many 15 Now volunteers are participating in the peaceful protest and occupation at the front entry of the 4th precinct police station in Minneapolis.

We in 15 Now Minnesota join our brothers and sisters in Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), and the Minneapolis NAACP in demanding the following:

1) That Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau #ReleaseTheTapes showing the homicide of Jamar Clark

2) That any prosecution of Officers Ringgenberg and Schwarze bypass a grand jury, which is not required by law

3) That the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the homicide as well as police abuses against peaceful protestors at the #4thPrecinctShutDown

4) That the Minneapolis Police Department cease its aggression and escalation tactics against peaceful protestors exercising their civil rights

These demands concern matters of basic transparency, fairness, and freedom that all people should support. We commend the young leaders of color whose outstanding efforts are sustaining the occupation, and who have also done excellent work with us for a $15 minimum wage, fair scheduling, paid sick days, and ending wage theft. We agree that state-sponsored violence against the Black community is deeply connected to economic inequality. We stand with you in demanding #Justice4Jamar, because until there is justice, there can be no true peace. #BlackLivesMatter

Visit 15NowMN.org for more information

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$15 hour VICTORY for University of Washington Workers!

Another victory in the movement for a $15/hour minimum wage! The University of Washington will raise the wages of all workers, including student workers, to $15 by 2017.
The University of Washington is the biggest employer in Seattle, but UW was refusing to follow the citywide minimum wage law passed in June 2014 until Reclaim UW, a coalition of student groups and labor unions, organized to pressure the administration. 
Last year, Northeastern University in Boston passed a student-led referendum supporting $15/hour for all campus workers. Both victories highlight what can be achieved when campus workers, labor and students organize for their right to a living wage.
Our work doesn’t stop here. UW says the change will affect 5,500 workers, including about 3,500 student workers on the Seattle campus. We still need to fight to make sure UW follows through on $15/hr for all UW workers, and to grow the movement on campuses nationwide!
DNC picket

While Presidential Candidates Gathered in Minneapolis, 15 Now Rallied Outside Convention for $15 Minimum Wage

*Workers, supporters call on Democratic presidential candidates to take up calls in the Fight for $15!*

Minneapolis, Minn — On Friday, August 28th, outside of the Hilton in Minneapolis where Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and other Democratic presidential hopefuls spoke at the convention for the Democratic National Committee, community members with 15Now Minnesota rallied to demand that the candidates and the Democratic National Committee officially endorse a $15 minimum wage across the country.

Workers and community members came together as part of the #MPLSWorks campaign to call for $15 minimum wage, paid sick time, fair scheduling and rules to end wage theft in Minneapolis. (Sign the petition, http://mplsworks.org/ ).As a result of workers building pressure through mass demonstrations for $15/hour, the Democratic Party adopted

the call for $15 minimum wage as part of the party platform going into the 2016 presidential elections.
DNC picket for $15/hour

We know that $15/hour is on the agenda because of workers organizing across the country, and we know it will take a movement of thousands, building pressure from below, to win.

Minnesota has some of the worst racial economic disparities in the country, but the divides we face are a national problem. Structural racism has led to drastic racial income inequality. Far too many people, especially people of color, are earning less than a living wage. The presidential candidates must address our racial economic inequality crisis as a central part of their campaigns.

Build a movement for $15/hour, and to fight for racial and economic justice! #15Now #15inAll50 #15forMpls

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