Time for a $15 minimum wage
In just the first 100 days, Trump and Republicans in Congress have made it easier for employers to hide fatal injuries, blocked an increase in overtime pay, pushed a bill cutting pay for workers on federal infrastructure projects and making it harder for workers to organize, allowed Wall Street to exploit workers who plan to retire, pushed a fast food CEO for labor secretary, and gave federal contractors a free pass to endanger their workers.
It is nothing less than a war on workers — and now, progressive champions Rep. Keith Ellison and Sen. Bernie Sanders have united Democrats to push a bold alternative. They recently introduced a bill to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Every sign of support for this bill exposes Trump’s true agenda and shows that progressives have bold solutions, so we need to get behind it in a big way.
While Trump was refusing to pay contractors and scamming students these last years, workers have been organizing. They stood up to intimidation, surveillance, threats and the risk of losing their livelihood in order to “fight for $15.” Because of their bravery and determination, a $15 minimum wage has gone from being a progressive priority to an idea embraced by dozens of Democrats who have co-sponsored the bills in the House and Senate.
The average age of a minimum wage worker is 36. Many are over 55, and many have families. Raising the minimum wage does more than help teenagers working summer jobs — it would raise the wages of more than 40 million Americans. Women, African-Americans and Latinos would disproportionately benefit from raising the minimum wage, as structural racism and sexism leaves these Americans too often locked in jobs that pay less than $15 per hour.
By forcing giant companies to share their obscene profits instead of spending them on stock buybacks to benefit rich shareholders, a $15 minimum wage would boost the economy and fight income inequality. Today, a parent working full time at the minimum wage could still be living in poverty. That’s unacceptable, and that’s exactly what this bill would stop.
Trump pretended to support a minimum wage boost during the 2016 campaign, and now Democrats are calling his bluff. We need to stand alongside them.
The $7.25 minimum wage today is worth less in real dollars than it was in 2009 when it was last raised. The Raise the Wage Act would immediately raise the wage to $9.25 and then steadily increase it to $15 by 2024, even as it institutes new protections for tipped workers and helps people with disabilities.
Trump likes to pose as a populist, but his meager successes in life have come from scamming people. Democrats need to drive home a bold, unapologetic pro-worker message to expose his hypocrisy — and to do that, we need to drum up grassroots support for bills like this one.
Originally published at act.credoaction.com.