All posts by Jesse Lessinger

Media Roundup: MLK Day March for 15

Photo by Josh Kelety
Photo by Josh Kelety

To commemorate the life and legacy of MLK, Jr. 15 Now marched in the annual MLK Day celebration. Our picket signs, banners, and supporters in red 15 Now t-shirts dominated the scene, drawing media attention to this growing movement.  Check out some of the articles published on the 15 Now contingent:

KING 5 Video – Supporters of $15 minimum wage at MLK rally

KIRO 7 Video – Hundreds March to Honor MLK, Push for Higher Minimum Wage

Seattle Times – Backers of $15 minimum wage turn out for MLK celebration

Seattle Times – $15 wage campaign joins in M.L. King celebration

My Northwest – Thousands March in Seattle’s Annual MLK Day Celebration

Examiner – Seattlelites march for Martin Luther King and $15 minimum wage

Publicola – Minimum-Wage Committee Member Harrell Joins Sawant in “$15/Hour Contingent” at MLK March

Celebrate MLK Day – March With $15 Now Contingent

Monday, January 20th, 2014
Come to the rally before the march at 10:30, wear your red “fight for $15″ shirt (you can get one at the rally). After the rally come to the big 15 NOW banners at 23rd and Jefferson in front of Ezell’s: help us set up a visible, loud and powerful contribution to this year’s MLK rally and march for $15 in 2014!
When Martin Luther King Jr. took part in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom a central demand was a $2/hr minimum wage. With inflation that’s 2014 $15 in 2014! Join our contingent in the annual MLK Day March to let the establishment know that Dr. King’s dream is still alive.
Wear your red $15/hr t-shirts. Come to the rally at Garfield High School before the march.
$15 Now and Working Washington are also hosting a workshop on the $15/hr movement at Garfield from 9-11:30am.This event is sponsored by the MLK Celebration Committee.

VIDEO from Kick-off Rally for 15 Now

Here is a great video of some of the speeches from our kickoff rally this past Sunday. Kshama Sawant of Socialist Alternative, Dave Freiboth of the King County Labor Council, Socialist Party member of the Irish Parliament Joe Higgins, and Robby Stern of Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans.

Thank you Todd Boyle for the video!

Media Roundup: Kick-off Rally for 15 Now

Hands go up as audience is asked if they will be out in the streets on MLK day, carrying the fight forward!
Hands go up as audience is asked if they will be out in the streets on MLK day, carrying the fight forward!

“When we win $15 an hour, it will be because we kept up the pressure,” SEIU 775’s Sterling Harders told a cheering crowd, “and that is why SEIU 775 and Working Washington support”

The kick-off rally for 15 Now started with a roaring chant that declared to big business and Seattle politicians that Seattle workers want $15, and we want it NOW.  The rally included a list of prominent speakers, including our new socialist city councilmember Kshama Sawant and Irish Parliament member Joe Higgins, in addition to representatives from organizations that have endorsed the 15 Now campaign, such as SEIU Local 775, SEIU Local 6, PSARA, and Socialist Alternative. Also present to share their stories were immigrant worker/organizers from El Comité and Casa Latina, and workers from hotel, fast food, and airport industries. Below are a few of the media articles generated by this ground-breaking rally:

KIRO 7 – Live Coverage (VIDEO)

KING 5 – (VIDEO) Hundreds Rally in Support of $15 Minimum Wage

KOMO News – Photos from the rally

Supporters Pack Labor Temple at Rally as Minimum Wage Builds Momentum

Maximum Energy at Seattle Rally to Push for  $15 Minimum Wage


Seattle Swears In a Socialist

by John Nichols, originally published at The Nation

Sawant inauguration fist

Across the United States this week, new mayors and city council members are being sworn in as the leaders of the cities that elected them in November. The inaugurations of mayors draw local attention—and, in cases like that of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a good measure of national attention—but there is generally less focus on the city council members.

Except in Seattle.

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KUOW: Socialist Kshama Sawant Delivers Blistering Speech At Inauguration

by Deborah Wang, originally published at KUOW

15now signs at inauguration

Inauguration in Seattle has usually been a low-key affair. But not this year.

Hundreds packed the lobby of Seattle City Hall on Monday. Some came to see Ed Murray, the city’s first openly gay mayor, take the oath of office. But many more came to catch a glimpse of Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s first Socialist City Council member who has attracted international attention.

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Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant interviewed on Democracy Now 1/6/14-Kshama discusses her historic victory running as a socialist, the role Occupy played in turning the political tide in the US, the struggle of Boeing workers, and the $15 Now campaign.


Statement from Socialist Alternative Councilmember Kshama Sawant – Mayor Murray’s $15/Hour Executive Order for City Employees

I am pleased to hear about Mayor Murray’s executive order to begin the process of making $15/hour the minimum wage for all city workers. This move towards $15 for an estimated 600 city employees is an important step in the right direction and a victory of the growing movement of low-wage workers. It starkly demonstrates the unprecedented political momentum for a $15/hour minimum wage for all of Seattle.

As an immediate step, I appeal to Mayor Murray to insist that the thousands of city subcontractor employees not covered by today’s order also be raised to a minimum of $15.

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