On May Day, Local & Statewide Movement on $15 Minimum Wage

On May 1st, fast food and other low wage workers will announce their intention to place a home rule charter amendment question on the ballot in November that presents an opportunity for the residents of Philadelphia to vote in support of a $15 minimum wage.

Mayoral polls done by municipal union, AFSCME have already indicated support for a $15 minimum wage in Philly to be as high as 87% among likely voters.

A popular referendum on $15 an hour in November will put pressure on the state legislators to raise the minimum wage across the state to $15 an hour, to lift the undemocratic ban on municipal wage increases, and set the stage for city council to institute bold measures to challenge the ban if no action is taken on a statewide level.

Additionally, State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today announced legislation to raise the state minimum wage immediately to $15 per hour. The bill would also index the minimum wage to inflation and eliminate the tipped minimum wage. He and 15 Now are seeking co-sponsors in the PA Assembly and Senate for the $15 bill.

Said 15 Now member Sarah Giskin, “15 Now PA is heartened to see that Pennsylvania state representatives are turning the urgent demand for a $15/hour into action. 15 Now chapters across the state will be pushing hard for Senator Leach’s bill. We are prepared, however, to fight for the removal of the undemocratic ban on Philadelphia raising its own minimum wage if the legislature does not pass a statewide $15/hour bill. We will do whatever it takes to end poverty in our city, starting with putting a $15 minimum wage referendum on the November ballot in Philadelphia.

In 2015, the #fightfor15 and #blacklivesmatter movements have set a tone of mass struggle to achieve dramatically improved working and living conditions, especially for people of color who are over-represented in low wage work. Philadelphia is the poorest major city in the country, and 28% of residents live under the federal poverty line.

On International Workers’ Day, Philadelphia workers will uphold the holiday’s bold history of struggle, by demanding a minimum wage of $15 an hour in the city of Philadelphia and across the state of Pennsylvania. May Day is rooted in the struggle for the 8 hour day, when hundreds of thousands of workers across the nation staged a general strike to win a shorter work day and higher wages.

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PA State Senator Leach Proposes $15 Min Wage Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2015

HARRISBURG – State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today announced legislation to raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour. The bill would also index the minimum wage to inflation and eliminate the tipped minimum wage.

Leach explained his proposal to his Senate colleagues in a co-sponsorship memo, attached to the announcement today.

Leach’s statement on his new proposal:

“An economy that forces full-time workers to toil in poverty is clearly in need of repair. While corporations shower their executives with extravagant bonuses, lavish benefits and golden parachutes, they force their own employees to supplement meager wages with government assistance programs, all at the taxpayers’ expense. It’s time for employers to pay their fair share and for workers to get a fair shake.”

Leach will speak about his new bill at a rally for advocates of a $15 minimum wage on Friday, May 1, 2015 in Philadelphia. Details are below.

WHEN:
May 1st, 2015 at 2:00pm

WHERE:
McDonald’s at 3935 Walnut St, Philadelphia (40th & Walnut)

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The Office of Senator Daylin Leach
Steve Hoenstine, Director of Communications
shoenstine@pasenate.com
W: 717-787-5544
M: 717-683-3110

We Work! We Sweat! Put 15 On Our Check! Strike 4/15!

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On April 15th the City of Philadelphia Erupted in Raucous, Righteous Noise!

Fight For 15 and 15Now activists spread throughout the city for a day-long series of actions in protest of the corporate policies that exploit the working class in order to fill the pockets of the 1%.  We joined our sisters and brothers from across the country and around the world in fighting back against the continuing international capitalist assault on workers

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From South to North, and East to West we marched, rallied, mic checked, and occupied for $15/hour and a union. The chants “15 Now!”, and “We Work!  We Sweat!  Put 15 On Our Check!” echoed throughout the city.

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At Temple University students, faculty and food service workers struck, rallied and marched out to join the action. Temple 15Now invaded the University President Theobald’s Barbecue to deliver a letter demanding 15 and union for all Temple U. employees. Then they occupied and mic checked Morgan Hall to speak out against low wages, poverty, institutional racism and the university’s role in gentrifying the neighborhood. After being escorted out by the Temple Police, the Students and faculty got on a bus to the McDonalds at 40th and Walnut to join a rally of hundreds of students and workers on strike for $15 and a union. Workers shared their stories and students gave speeches in solidarity as McDonalds workers and police watched on. After shutting down the McDonalds, they marched together down Chestnut St to the 30th St. Bridge.  Onlookers and workers joined the crowd and a drum line beat time while the marchers chanted “straight from the 215, we’re fighting for $15 and doing it live.”

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15Now Philly hit the McDonald’s and Popeye’s  at Broad and Carpenter, for a spirited mic check that communicated our mission, asked on-duty workers to join the cause and outlined the legal rights of fast-food workers to engage in unionizing activity without retaliation during their personal or on-duty break time. Then we took the street and marched, chanted and sang our way north on Broad Street, right through the heart of City Hall and on to the McD’s at Broad and Arch Street.

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Multiple marches converged downtown and SEIU 32BJ, Fight For 15, and 15Now were joined by a diverse cross-section of local unions and community organizations. As the crowd swelled to over 1000 we marched through Center City stopping at several corporate headquarters for brief remarks then danced and chanted to a final rally at 30th Street Station to meet the march from West Philly. A successful day, but just another in a series of small steps along the way to our ultimate goal. 15 Now Philly stands committed to building on these successes, broadening our coalition and keeping the pressure on State and City elected officials to meet our demand for a $15 minimum wage now.

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This Saturday: Philly’s 4th Low Wage Workers Council Meeting

Across the country low wage workers are organizing for $15 And A Union.

On April 11th Philadelphia’s Low Wage Workers Council is holding it’s 4th public meeting. 12-2pm At 4029 Market St

These meetings are open to all workers as a space to learn about organizing history, share common experiences and skills.

This Saturday the Council will be discussing the importance of STRIKES and MASS ACTIONS throughout history. We’ll be talking about the 1934 Teamsters strike in Minneapolis, the Memphis Sanitation worker strike in 1968, and the Fast Food Strikes of today!

All Out On the 15th!

Then next Wednesday April 15th will see the largest action ever of low wage workers fighting for a $15/hour minimum wage, with 60,000 low-wage workers and supporters in over 200 cities participating. Fast food workers will be joined by adjunct college faculty, retail and airport workers, home health care aids, and groups formed out of the historic #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Lets go all out in Philly on the 15th!

It’s a #15Spring!

Starting in December 2012 with a strike of fast food workers in New York City, this movement has spread like wildfire across the US and has shown the way forward in the fight against historic levels of inequality. According to a January Hart Research poll, 63% of the country now supports a $15 federal minimum wage. Support is even higher in most big cities.

Everywhere, anger at corporate greed – and the extreme wealth and racial inequities – is reaching a boiling point. The fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage has the potential to become a powerful mass movement uniting low-wage workers demanding union rights, people of color standing up against racism, and young people facing a dead-end future.

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Temple Students & Employees Kick-off $15 Campus-wide Wage Campaign

[Philadelphia, PA]– On Wednesday, students and employees of ‘15 Now Temple’ launched one of the first campaigns in the nation for a campus-wide $15 minimum wage. 15 Now members read a letter to President Neil Theobald co-signed by students groups, student workers, food service employees and adjunct professors that put forth several key demands for economic justice in North Philly.

Temple education student Zoe Buckwalter said, “Philadelphia is the poorest major city in the US. As one of the largest institutions in Philadelphia, Temple can and should take an active role in fighting poverty by paying all campus employees at least $15/hr, including student-workers, work-study students and contracted and subcontracted employees.”

After several speeches by students and Temple staff, the group attempted to enter Sullivan Hall to deliver the letter to President Theobald. They were met with campus security, and the president refused to receive any student representatives in his office.

The 15 Now letter demands that Temple immediately pay all campus workers at least $15 an hour, including work-study students and student-workers. Regarding contractors who refuse to pay $15 an hour, students  recommend the university seek to contract with companies that will fulfill Temple’s stated commitment to North Philadelphia with a $15 wage standard.

Temple senior Sarah Giskin says, “I am attending Temple full time and can’t make ends meet. I work several jobs making no more than than $10 an hour. I’ll also be $80,000 in debt when I leave. I don’t even know if I’ll find a job where I make enough money to pay my loans back. Temple needs to stand beside and commit to building a just economy on campus and in the city. “

Additionally, 15 Now Temple demanded Temple publicly endorse a $15/hr minimum wage in Philadelphia for every worker in the city. 15 Now Temple stands in solidarity with the United Academic of Philadelphia to demand that Temple University allow adjunct professors to vote on their union immediately.

Temple student Pele Irgangladen explained, “Our campaign is one of the first in the country to start pushing for a $15 campus wide minimum wage, but students across the country will join us in 2015. Today was just the start of our campaign at Temple, and we’ll keep pressing for $15 until we win.”

Philly’s $15 Minimum Wage Hearing March 4th!

On Wednesday, March 4th ’15 Now Philly’, SEIU 32BJ, and fast food workers are hosting a hearing in front of Philadelphia City Council on the $15 minimum wage in Philly!
It is a huge victory for low wage workers all over Philadelphia that our elected officials will hear the economic, moral, and legal case for implementing a significant raise in the minimum wage.
But for our hearing to have the most impact, we need to pack City Council chambers on March 4th. We need to fill the chamber from the floor to the balcony to show City Council we can’t wait a $15 minimum wage for all workers.
We need YOU present at the hearing to win $15 an hour.
$15 Minimum Wage City Council Hearing
Wednesday, March 4th 
10am
City Hall
Please RSVP as soon as possible so we can anticipate our numbers!: 15inPhilly@gmail.com

PA Ruling Class Sees Pitchforks Coming, Advances Laughable Bill to Preserve Poverty Wages

Reject Wagner’s Poverty Wage ‘Compromise’

Across the United States a surging movement of the working class is fighting for at least a $15 an hour minimum wage. Fast Food and Walmart workers are organizing and striking for a $15/hour wage, alongside mass demonstrations like the MLK Day of Action, Resistance and Empowerment on January 19th, 2015. During this historic march, 7,000 people took the streets of Philadelphia calling for  racial justice, education funding, a $15/hour minimum wage, and union rights.

Americans overwhelmingly support this call for dramatically higher wages: a recent poll by the National Employment Law Center found 63% of Americans support a $15 an hour minimum wage.  Here in Philadelphia, economists broadly recognize the need for a minimum wage of at least $17/hour for all Philadelphia workers, just so a parent can afford a two bedroom apartment in the city. For companies in Philadelphia, a $15 an hour minimum wage is a bargain.

Even Tea Party PA Republican Senator Scott Wagner can no longer deny the power of this movement. Senator Wagner recently introduced a  weak tea bill to phase in a laughable increase in the State Minimum wage to $8.75 over three years, while locking in a substandard $7.25 ‘training wage’, and only a small increase in the tipped minimum wage (which should be totally eliminated). Senator Wagner’s bill also fails to clarify the power of municipalities to raise wages on a local basis.

This bill is a naked attempt to cut across the public debate on raising the wage and divide the forces fighting for an increase by offering a ‘reasonable’ compromise. But for working class families in Pennsylvania, Wagner’s ‘poverty preservation’ bill is way too little, and way too late. The terms of this poverty wage bill are an outright insult to workers who have been organizing for $15 an hour and a union, taking risks at their workplace, confronting abuse managers and organizing their coworkers for mass strikes in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

All organizations fighting to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania need to come together to oppose this rotten bill. Senator Wagner acknowledges the inevitability of a minimum wage hike and wants to lock in poverty wages in PA for as long as possible. We initiated our campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour based on what working class families need for basic economic security, not on what we thought was a ‘reasonable’ compromise. It is up to those opposed to raising the wage to propose ‘compromise’ language. We do not bargain with ourselves.

We know one thing for certain: this senator and other politicians who continue to support poverty wages clearly represent the interests of the wealthiest 1%.  At a time when corporations make record profits and CEOs make upwards of ten thousand dollars per hour, we must unite to fight for what working class people need. We can no longer accept the unprecedented levels of income inequality in our nation.

The fight for $15 an hour minimum wage marches forward in Philadelphia and across PA. Senator Wagner’s bill shows that business interests see the glare of pitchforks on the horizon.  The polls will continue to tell what we already know: the movement for $15 is coming. And we will not be stopped.

15 Now Solidarity Statement with Today’s Demo against Keystone XL Pipeline Construction

Just like the struggle for a universal $15 an hour minimum wage, fighting for a healthy sustainable planet is a working class issue. From the toxic underground plumes near the oil refineries in South Philadelphia to the new plans to make Philadelphia an “Energy Hub” and privatize PGW, working people bear the brunt of the impact when corporations profit off environmental destruction.
Instead of Keystone XL, we need a massive federal green investment program to combat global warming. President Obama must push for aggressive investment in renewable energy and new efficient technologies to replace fossil fuels. Workers in the phased out industries should be offered full pensions or job retraining at union rates of pay. Economists have proven over and over that the Keystone XL pipeline will not create a significant amount of permanent jobs that will benefit American workers.
Locally, investment in sustainable energy would create thousands of jobs in Philly. This type of federal investment would open huge opportunities for our youth and the unemployed in communities across the country. Together with a $15 an hour minimum wage and the guaranteed right to form unions our country would radically reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for Philadelphians.

 Furthermore, projects that damage our environment overwhelmingly impact workers who already live in poverty. Families of color and families in low income neighborhoods suffer devastating health problems caused by pollution related to fossil fuel production and industrial waste.
As we fight for a global economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy elite, working class people must continue to tie together the common issues of income inequality, environmental sustainability, racism, and the right to health and healthcare. $15 Now is proud to stand behind workers protesting the KXL pipeline and rejecting the notion that we must sacrifice our health and environment for short term gains for the elite.