Members speak out on income inequality
Local 1000 activists join community leaders to fight for fair pay for all workers
Scores of Local 1000 members were joined by community activists from across the Sacramento region August 25 for a town hall addressing the growing wealth disparity in our economy and what working people can do to stand up for each other.
Held outdoors at the Sacramento union hall, the town hall gave member leaders and others affected by the income crisis a forum to speak on the very real personal, family and community consequences of low wage work. Hosted by Local 1000 President Yvonne R. Walker, the event also built support for raising the minimum wage in Sacramento, a proposal currently under consideration by the city’s Income Inequality Task Force, an advisory body to which Walker was appointed by Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Though the majority of Local 1000 members make more than $15 an hour, the upper amount being considered by the task force, member activists expressed many reasons why everyone needs to worry about the shrinking salaries of those on the bottom of the pay scale.
“Anything that impacts our community impacts all of us,” said Teresa Hubbard, a Program Technician for State Fund and DLC 747 president. “All of our members need to add their voice to this movement. That’s the only way we are going to make a change. It starts with Local 1000.”
Shireen Miles, an Education Programs Consultant for the Department of Education (DOE), agreed and pointed out that poverty pay pushes down wages for everyone. “It directly affects us,” Miles said. “It’s the principle of lowest common denominator. If employers can get a workforce for less money, they will.”
Her colleague Bobby Roy, who is also an Education Programs Consultant for DOE, said union members have a moral obligation to stand up for low wage workers. “We’re talking about everyone being able to support their families and provide what they need,” he said. “That’s what we all would want; not just for ourselves but our neighbors, our families, all across America. That’s why it’s important that we stay involved.”
In her town hall address, President Walker reminded everyone that real economic justice begins with income equality; it doesn’t end there. “It’s not enough to just raise the wage,” she said. “We need affordable housing, healthy communities and affordable child care, too.”