Tag Archives: #Fightfor15

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Minimum Wage Victories in 2016 Show We Can Beat Trump’s Agenda

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:

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!

Help us grow the movement. Donate at www.15now.org/donate

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Community and Labor Groups Join Fight for $15 Minimum Wage in Minneapolis

Watch press conference full video here.
Powerful labor and faith groups announced Thursday they are uniting behind the fight for a $15/hour minimum wage in Minneapolis, and will make the issue a top priority after this November’s elections.

“I’m here today as a mother of five for all the mothers, fathers, and children who can’t be here. I’ve never made more than $11/hour and I’m fighting for a better future for my family.  I put my blood, my sweat, my tears, and my soul into my job, helping other people — but I’m barely helping myself,” said Rosheeda Credit, a NOC member who works as a personal care attendant. “I’m excited that so many new partners are joining us in this fight. This should be something that’s passed for everybody.”

On Tuesday, the Minnesota AFL-CIO – a federation of over 1000 local unions representing over 300,000 workers in Minnesota – officially endorsed the campaign to raise wages for workers at the municipal level, including the fight for $15 in Minneapolis. The AFL-CIO’s local affiliate, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, pledged to use its collective power to organize workers in the fight for $15. “We are at a critical moment in the history of the worker’s movement as income inequality has grown to staggering proportions, creating a crisis for low-wage and middle-class workers,” said Chelsie Glaubitz, president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation. “This, combined with the rise of the on-demand economy, is leaving too many people –especially women and people of color — behind.  Workers deserve a voice in their workplace.”

SEIU Local 26, which represents over 6,000 janitors, security officers and window cleaners, also announced their commitment to expand their struggle to the fight for $15 for all workers in Minneapolis. “Janitors with SEIU Local 26 fought and won $15 in our last contract, which has made a huge impact on my life. But while that was a great gain for us, I have immediate family in Minneapolis who make less than $15 and I know that puts incredible pressure on them just to survive,” said Valentina McKenzie, a janitor at Union Depot. “That is why I am excited for this movement, because everyone deserves to be able to pay their bills and provide for their family. Even though we already won $15 for union janitors, I’m excited to join this fight to make sure everyone can get there.”

“We are committed to winning a $15 minimum wage for all workers because companies should compete based on their goods and services, not on who can sell a cheaper tomato by paying the lowest wage. That is why we are partnering with community organizations to organize retail workers to win $15,” said Rena Wong, organizing director of UFCW Local 653, which represents more than 10,000 retail, meat manufacturing, food preparation, healthcare, and other workers in Minnesota.

ISAIAH, a coalition of over 100 faith organizations in Minnesota, helped organize the first mass doorknock of the ordinance campaign last weekend, which drew out over 50 volunteers. “People of faith are joining the fight for $15,” said Rev. Paul Slack, the pastor of New Creation Church and the president of ISAIAH. “We believe that no one should work and make poverty wages. We will be activating our churches to engage in the struggle for dignity for all workers.”

Labor groups announcing their support for the fight for a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis include AFSCME Council 5, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Bakers (BCTGM) Local 22, Communication Workers of America (CWA) State Council, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and ESP’s (MFT) Local 59, Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation (MRLF), Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 9, People of Color Union Member Caucus, SEIU Minnesota State Council, Teamsters Local 320, UNITE HERE Local 17, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 563, and Working America.

On Saturday, October 15th, the coalition plans to gather hundreds of workers, community activists, union members, supportive small businesses, and members of the faith community for a mass organizing conference to build action groups in each Minneapolis ward.

“I’m one of the 64 million people who make less than $15 minimum wage,” said Guillermo Lindsay, a leader with CTUL and fast food employee. “This fight was started by fast food workers all across the county because we are tired of making poverty wages while the bosses are making millions of dollars every year. We are going to continue to organize in the workplace and in the streets together, as one until we win $15 in Minneapolis.”

“In a city where the CEO of Target makes $9,000/hour, big business will continue fighting for every carve-out and exemption, even while Minneapolis supports $15/hr as a major economic opportunity, especially for women and workers of color who disproportionately fill low-wage jobs,”said Ginger Jentzen, the Executive Director of 15 Now Minnesota. “Polls show 68% support for our proposal, which gets every worker to $15/hour by 2022 with no exceptions, and we’re organizing to activate this support into a broad, grassroots campaign to win.”

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Big Business won this round, but the fight is far from over | 15 Now Minnesota

While this is a setback, we still forced $15 on the agenda – and it’s here to stay.

The Minnesota Supreme Court sided with Mayor Hodges, Minneapolis City Council and the Chamber of Commerce to strip Minneapolis of the right to vote on a $15/hour minimum wage. While our charter amendment is blocked, the fight for $15 in Minneapolis is far from over. We forced the council to open a debate about an ordinance by the second quarter of 2017. The Supreme Court’s decision affirmed that the Minneapolis City Council has the power to pass $15/hour as an ordinance at any time. Now more than ever we need to keep up the momentum to demand the council pass our proposal for $15 as an ordinance.

Join fast food workers on Monday, September 12th at 1:00pm at Wendy’s in North Minneapolis (421 W Broadway Ave) to demand City Council pass $15/hr. Let’s keep up the momentum.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

For decades they ignored poverty wages in Minneapolis, but we kept organizing and we forced them to take notice. Then they said $15/hour was unrealistic. They fought back with everything they have, taking this to the conservative Supreme Court. This morning we demanded that Mayor Hodges and Minneapolis City Council drop the appeal, but they refused to even consider it. The fact they are this threatened fundamentally shows how strong we are. But we kept organizing, and we’ve paved a path to win $15/hour!

We have terrified big business and the political establishment in Minneapolis. Our grassroots campaign has already won the public battle over the hearts and minds of the people to end poverty wages. 68% of Minneapolis residents support our charter amendment. The same poll showed a stunning 83% of African Americans and 74% of women voters support our proposal, groups that are disproportionately affected by poverty wages. Big business knew we would win, which is why the DFL controlled City Council and Mayor Hodges worked overtime to block a popular vote on $15, even going so far as uniting with Republican Justices at the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has a long track record of siding against working people. One Minnesota Justice was even one of Donald Trump’s potential choices to replace Antonin Scalia on the US Supreme Court. This did not stop City Hall from relying on this court when it seemed clear $15/hour would win at the ballot. City Hall even welcomed the Chamber of Commerce as an ally on the appeal, allowing them to file their own separate legal argument to block $15/hour from voters. Why did they go through all this trouble? To defend powerful corporations like Target and Best Buy, who want to keep making massive profits off the exploitation of working people in Minneapolis.

We started this campaign for simple reasons. 62 families own as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population. The CEO of Target makes $11,000/hour, while the average retail worker makes around $10/hr. The Twin Cities are home to 17 Fortune 500 companies – the highest concentration in the country – yet also the worst racial inequities in the nation. Passing $15/hr will be an economic opportunity for over 100,000 Minneapolis workers, and it would put almost a billion dollars back into pockets of low-wage workers each year – that’s what the City of Minneapolis just stole from voters. We’ve come so far, but now we need to continue the struggle.

Through determined organizing, low-wage workers have dramatically changed the political landscape in a few short years. In 2012 the first fast food workers went on strike demanding $15. In 2013, Minneapolis City Council Members refused to even explore raising minimum wage. Then low-wage workers won $15 in SeaTac, a suburb of Seattle. In 2014, 15 Now formed in Seattle and led a movement to make it the first major US city to pass $15/hour. Since then, dozens of cities have followed suit. Now a majority of Americans support a $15/hour minimum wage, and it’s commonly accepted as an important policy in cities with high costs of living and poverty rates, like Minneapolis.

While the Supreme Court’s decision blocks one path to $15, low-wage workers have already blazed another. It’s now widely accepted that Minneapolis has the power to pass our proposal for $15 as an ordinance. In fact, City Council passed a nonbinding resolution to pass a minimum wage ordinance, but failed to set a dollar amount or time frame for implementation. Because of our movement, 68% of Minneapolis residents support our reasonable proposal, $15/hour for big business by 2020 and small business by 2022. Make your voice heard on September 12th, and demand City Council pass our proposal for $15/hour.

Let’s regain the momentum and keep $15 on the agenda by organizing a mass rally on September 12th. Let’s show City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce that while they won this round, the fight is far from over.

-Ginger Jentzen,
Executive Director of 15 Now Minnesota
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15 Now MN: We Put $15 on the Agenda, Now Let’s Win!

* Visit Votefor15MN.org to donate *

Today was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had in the over 30 years I’ve spent as a worker and an activist fighting for social justice. Several hundred workers and supporters marched on City Hall and handed in 20,000 signatures to put $15/hour on the ballot in November. This initiative is about empowering working people in Minneapolis to address Minneapolis’ worst in the nation racial and economic inequalities. It took an enormous effort to get this far, but now we need to win in November. We need your help!

We must be ready for big business to spend millions of dollars to protect their profits and defeat a living wage. We need to raise one million dollars to win this campaign. If we win, it means almost a billion dollar transfer of wealth from big business into the hands of working people annually. That means every dollar we raise puts $1,000 directly into the pockets of Minneapolis workers.

Can you dig deep, and donate $48 dollars to win this campaign? That’s how much more a minimum wage worker would make every day if we win $15!

We’re gaining momentum, but this has been an uphill battle from the beginning.  Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and a majority of the City Council oppose a phased in $15 wage despite the fact that polls show that 82% of likely voters favor such a measure.  Ten weeks ago, we launched a vibrant campaign to collect signatures to put $15 on the ballot. Over a hundred people volunteered over 2,000 hours of their time to knock on doors in working class neighborhoods and engage those directly affected by poverty wages. Our campaign has been funded by ordinary people, with over 700 people making small donations to make this campaign possible.

Getting 20,000 signatures is only the first hurdle, however, for the fight for $15/hr in Minneapolis.  The City Attorney and some City Council members have raised questions about the legality of a Charter Amendment.  We’ve proven this initiative is perfectly legal for Minneapolis, but we all know there is a long history of politicians disenfranchising workers and people of color when it comes to defending the interests of big business.  But a key aspect of our legal strategy is building a movement of working people who can stand up to the Chamber of Commerce lawyers.

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Steven, a McDonald’s worker organizing with CTUL, signing the final signature

There is a powerful coalition forming to win $15/hour. It includes 15 Now Minnesota, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Centro de Trabajadores en Lucha (CTUL) and Socialist Alternative – Unions like the Minnesota Nurses Association, Communications Workers of America and many others – faith groups, neighborhood organizations, retiree associations and college students. We’ve printed materials in English, Spanish, Somali, Oromo and Hmong. We’ve hosted organizing meetings across the city in churches and mosques, workplace break rooms and small businesses, campuses and retirement homes.

With your financial support, we can build an unstoppable working class movement to win $15/hour and beyond. Donate today.

-Kip Hedges, Retired Baggage Handler and 15 Now Organizer

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Justices Reject Franchises’ Appeal over Seattle’s $15 min. Wage — McDonalds is NOT a Small business

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From the Washington Post
SEATTLE — The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in for the first time Monday on a $15-an-hour minimum wage, signaling it does not plan to stop the movement that is spreading across the nation, worker advocates say.
The justices refused to hear a challenge to Seattle’s law, which franchise owners said discriminates against them by treating them as large businesses.

From The Stranger (Seattle)
The International Franchise Association argued the law discriminated against franchises and violated the Commerce Clause. They lost that argument last year in U.S. District Court and the 9th Circuit. [The May 2nd] decision means those lower court decisions will stand. That’s good news for workers in Seattle and in cities across the country looking to follow our lead on $15.

 

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BACKERS OF $15 MINIMUM WAGE PLAN TO LAUNCH MINNEAPOLIS BALLOT CAMPAIGN

via Erin Golden, Star Tribune
“Minneapolis residents may have another item to vote on at the polls this November: raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Members of the group 15 Now Minnesota said they’re tired of waiting for the Minneapolis City Council to act on calls for a higher minimum wage, so they’re taking the issue directly to voters.”

Read Full Star Tribune coverage Here
Read Minnpost Coverage Here:
Civil Rights Groups Launch Push to Get $15 Minimum Wage on Minneapolis Ballot 
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15 Now Minnesota Launches $15 Minimum Wage Ballot Initiative Campaign  
Amid massive support and City Council inaction, activists appeal directly to voters

Minneapolis — Low-wage workers in the Twin Cities are launching a grassroots campaign to put a $15 minimum wage on the ballot in Minneapolis in 2016. The initiative is backed by 15 Now Minnesota, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), the Minneapolis NAACP, the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), the Minneapolis chapter of Black Lives Matter and other community and labor organizations. These groups will come together for a ballot campaign launch event on February 27th, a mass meeting to bring together all workers and supporters of a $15/hr.

After months of coalition building with supportive organizations and low-wage workers, organizers with 15 Now Minnesota are confident the initiative can win. They point to a recent poll that showed 82% support for $15/hour among Minneapolis voters, victories in other cities across the country, the popularity of Bernie Sanders’ campaign and high voter turnout in 2016.

“Under pressure from big business, city hall backed away from the Working Families Agenda, a key set of policies to address Minnesota’s worst in the nation equity gaps. But we don’t think the rest of Minneapolis agrees that a $15 minimum wage can wait. We’re building a mass movement of workers who need $15/hour now,” said 15 Now organizer Ginger Jentzen. “This initiative is designed to put that decision back into the hands of those most affected by poverty wages.”

Many major cities across the country have taken bold steps to address poverty wages over the past year, such as New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. More than 4 in 10 workers nationwide are paid less than $15 an hour, including more than half of African-American workers and 6 in 10 Latino workers. Supporters say $15 is one of the most impactful single steps we can take towards racial and economic equity in Minneapolis.

“The $15 ballot initiative is an opportunity to take a lead and fight against the racial and economic disparities tearing our city apart. When I talk with our supporters, they are sick and tired of working longer hours for lower wages. They’re tired of the race to the bottom,” said Claire Thiele, a low-wage worker and 15 Now volunteer. “If the Council won’t act, we will.”

“As a small business owner, I pay my employees a living wage and support $15,” said Brett Mattson, owner of the South Minneapolis restaurant, Cap’s Grill. “My restaurant business is expanding. My employees are happy and most have stayed with me. It can work for Minneapolis too.” ###

Jenna Pope / @JennaBPope

Snapshot of the movement – the Fight for $15 in 7 major cities

On April 15, over 60,000 union members, students and low wage workers in 230 cities across the country walked out of their work places and classrooms to march, rally and occupy for a $15/hour minimum wage and the right to a union. SEIU played a key role in providing organizing resources, organizers and mobilizing it’s membership to come out for the day of action. With its focus on building a broader campaign, 15 Now also played a critical role in mobilizing, organizing and supporting the strikes and direct actions.

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