Our Vision for Building the Movement for $15
15Now was launched in January of 2014 by Seattle City Council Member, Kshama Sawant and Socialist Alternative to fight for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle. 6 months later, in June of 2014, Seattle passed legislation raising it’s minimum wage to 15/hour. 15 Now chapters have quickly spread across the country. Click here for a list of 15 Now chapters. It is a campaign that anyone can join and help build.
Social and economic inequality in the US has reached historic proportions. The top 1% increased their income following capitalism’s Great Recession while the overwhelming majority of working people are still struggling or are even worse off than before. Philadelphia is one the poorest large cities in the US. We have endured decades of cuts in public services, our neighborhoods left to rot, schools and firehouses are closed and our children thrown onto the street while the state spends hundreds of millions to build more and more prisons and gives tax breaks to Corporations. We demand social justice and a dignified life for all workers.
The movement for a minimum wage of $15/hour is an expression of this enormous problem of inequality. Walmart and McDonalds reap massive profits, but their employees are forced to work two or 3 part time low wage jobs and rely on public assistance to make ends meet. The support for the fast food workers actions for $15 showed that the aspirations of Occupy to fight against poverty and inequality are alive and growing among millions.
The struggle to raise the minimum wage is lively and dynamic movement which is developing all across the US. 15Now is part of this wider movement, open for all to join and fight with us. Due to the work of Fight For 15, 15Now, and our allies and other organizations, there have been significant increases in the minimum wage in cities across the country in the past 6 months and we have pushed the issue into the mainstream public debate in many others.
Every worker deserves a living wage. The fight for 15 is just the first step towards a living wage. Low-wage jobs are disproportionately held by people of color, women and immigrants so the fight for 15 is also a question of racial, gender and social equality.
We aim to build the widest possible unity in action of labor, community, and social justice organizations. Big business will not let this pass without a fight. They will mobilize their resources to derail, delay, and dilute efforts to end the poverty wages that are the source of their profits.
Our goal is to empower working people and activate them into a fighting movement. The only way we can counter the power of Corporate America is by building a massive grassroots campaign. We aim to build a network of activists, organized in Action Groups in neighborhoods, on campuses and in workplaces, or through allied trade unions, community and immigrant rights organizations.
This is our vision across the US: People organizing from below can challenge the 1 percent’s domination of economic and political system and change the balance of power in our society. The politicians are beginning to notice that something is happening here, but we must continue to rely upon our own power. The key to winning is building up the power of working people expressed in our level of organization, consciousness, unity and determination to struggle.