Fight for $15 & a Union
The Fight for Economic Justice
Local 1000 is committed to building a California with vibrant, sustainable communities and a healthy economy where all working families earn enough to enjoy a secure, meaningful life.
Unfortunately, California–like the rest of the country–is facing the worst wealth gap since 1928: The state is home to more billionaires than any other and yet 22 percent of Californians live in poverty. Seven out of 10 new jobs being created pay less than $15 an hour, making it impossible for workers to pay for basic necessities like rent and groceries, much less move upward into the ever-shrinking middle class. This is the segment of our population that are often referred to as the “working poor.”
Minimum Wage Affects All of Us
The minimum wage was created to be a hedge against impoverished workers, but the minimum wage is so out of sync with increases in the cost of living that workers who are paid the federal minimum wage make roughly 25 percent less than their counterparts 45 years ago after adjusting for inflation.
To meet the most basic needs, minimum-wage workers and their families often need government assistance to close the gaps that their paychecks don’t cover. In the fast-food industry, which is one of the biggest employers of minimum-wage workers:
- More than half of the families of front-line workers are enrolled in one or more public assistance programs, compared to 25 percent of the workforce as a whole.
- The cost of public assistance to families of fast-food industry workers is nearly $7 billion per year.
- These families also receive an annual average of $1.04 billion in food-stamp benefits and $1.91 billion in Earned Income Tax Credit payments.
- Even full-time hours–which are a rarity in this industry–are not enough to compensate for low wages. The families of more than half of the fast-food workers employed 40 or more hours per week are enrolled in public assistance programs.
Fast-Food Workers Are Not Alone
But let’s not fool ourselves: The low-wage workers who have joined the Fight for $15 and a union are not limited to just the fast-food industry. Airport workers, healthcare workers and adjunct college professors are also joining the fight.
Low-wage work is hard and should be rewarded with dignity and fair compensation. Given that corporate America has proven over the last 30 years it is not inclined to pay a fair wage on its own, low-wage workers are also fighting for the right to organize in the workplace without fear of retaliation or retribution.
That’s why Local 1000 has joined the Fight for $15 and a union.
Together with our brothers and sisters in labor and a broad coalition of social- and economic-justice allies, we will continue to demand that corporations pay a fair wage for the labor from which they profit. And we will continue to stand with all workers and invite them to stand with us.