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We're Winning the Fight for $15

Workers are rising up to fight for better pay and a union. They won't be stopped.
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By Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes ·
We're Winning the Fight for $15
Rally in New York City to raise the minimum wage in America. Photo credit: The All-Night Images

When fast food workers walked off their jobs in 2012 to demand $15 an hour and a union, many dismissed their demands as unrealistic and unattainable. But what the skeptics failed to see was the workers’ resolve. Today they’re winning in city after city, and in state after state.

Their latest victories include California and New York, which in April became the first states in the nation to raise their minimum wage to $15, a gradual change that will be accomplished by 2022. In doing so they followed the lead of cities like New York, San Francisco and Seattle, and they are likely to set the example for other states to follow.

Also in April, thousands of workers infused the Fight for $15 with new life when they hit the streets in cities all over the country, keeping the issue central in the Presidential campaign and making it clear that they’re strong, relentless and unstoppable.

A Spirit of Resolve

You know who else is strong, relentless and unstoppable? AFSCME members. And labor unions have played a key role in the Fight for $15. Last year we joined together with restaurant workers for the largest-ever national strikes aimed at increasing the minimum wage. What we share with these workers is a spirit of resolve that will help guarantee future victories.
When workers join together in union, the strength of their will simply can’t be ignored!

As we continue the fight, it’s also important to keep making the case for why increasing workers’ salaries will help end poverty in our communities. Together, we must take the Fight for $15 to the ballot box to show candidates of all political stripes that there are nearly 64 million Americans who make less than a livable wage.

For California Home Care Workers, Other Victories, Too

Home care providers in California achieved another important victory as well. Today, they will finally be paid overtime and travel time thanks to new rules issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. These new rules will bring home care under provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. States who are currently dragging their feet on implementing the new rules should take note.

What this means to people like Lidia Rodriguez is big. Rodriguez, a UDW Homecare member profiled in the Alliance for Justice film, "The Right to Unite," will finally be compensated for the 60 hours a week she works with her son, paralyzed from a drive-by shooting, and two other clients who love her dearly. She will now be paid for traveling back and forth between clients.

"This will mean so much to me and other home care providers," Rodriguez says. "I don’t have to worry about buying gasoline to travel to see Vivian and Barbara (her senior clients)."

Our recent victories remind us of what we can accomplish together if we never quit.

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