This week has seen a string of victories for the Fight for $15 in the US! The New York Wage Board recommended a $15 minimum wage for all fast-food workers in the state. The wage increase would take place over the next few years, increasing faster in the city of New York to account for the higher cost of living. The recommendation is expected to be approved and put into effect by the state’s Labor Commissioner.
“The $15 wage would represent a raise of more than 70 percent for workers earning the state’s current minimum wage of $8.75 an hour. Advocates for low-wage workers said they believed the mandate would quickly spur raises for employees in other industries across the state, and a jubilant [New York state Governor] Mr. Cuomo predicted that other states would follow his lead.” Read more about the decision here.
On the west coast, hundreds of thousands of workers also won a $15 minimum wage this week. The Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County, the country’s largest local government, voted to increase the minimum wage to $15 for all its unincorporated cities. The decision follows the City of Los Angeles, which approved a $15 minimum wage in June of this year. The increase raises the minimum wage in the county by more than 60%, and will be fully in effect by 2021. “Backers hope the combined actions by California’s two largest local governments reach a political tipping point and help accelerate the adoption of similar policies not just in the region, but across the nation.” Read more about the LA County decision here.
The University of California also approved a $15 minimum wage for all its hourly and contract workers this week. The University is the state’s 3rd largest employer, with 10 campuses across California, and is the country’s first public university to make such a move – setting an important precedent for other employers and universities to do the same. Read more about the University’s decision here.
And finally, Senators in the Congressional Progressive Caucus this week introduced a new bill to increase the Federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. It’s the largest proposed increase to the Federal minimum wage yet. Although there is no guarantee that the bill will receive the political support to move ahead, it will still have an impact – showing that a well-organized grassroots workers’ movement has succeeded in putting the demand for for fair wages front and centre in US politics.
As the momentum builds in the US, we continue to organize to build that momentum in Canada and in Ontario too. You can join us – tell the government that it’s time for #15andfairness now. Email Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn, or tweet him @OntMinLabour @MPPKevinFlynn. Ask your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbours to do the same.