The below statement can be attributed to Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, on Fight for $15 strikes and protests nationwide today:
“The Fight for $15 is a real response to a deepening crisis. Though many think the recession is fading into the past, the bottom line is that real wages continue to decline for workers, especially those in the lowest-paid occupations. A full-time worker earning $15 per hour earns about $30,000 per year—barely enough to support a family in any part of the country. Workers earning below $15 per hour are also disproportionately women and people of color. More than half of African-American workers and close to 60 percent of Latino workers make less than $15.
“Across the country, companies are raising pay, local governments are enacting wage increases—including New York State, which has adopted a $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers—and voters across the country will be considering minimum wage ballot proposals next year, including some for $15. All this progress at a moment when federal action seems stalled is a testament to the power of organizing and to the change that can occur when workers come together to demand what is right.
“Low-wage workers across the country today are offering a glimpse of the power that comes with their unified voice, and candidates gearing up for the 2016 elections across the country should take note of their urgent calls for change.”