living wage now

10 REASONS TO FIGHT FOR A $15 MINIMUM WAGE

1- 47 million people (including 1 in 4 children) live in poverty in the richest country in the world and it’s not because they don’t “work hard” (if you’ve ever worked a low-wage job you know how physically demanding and degrading they are), it’s because the ruling class needs to keep millions of people impoverished in order to remain the 1%. 


2- $450 billion would be injected into the economy EVERY YEAR if the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour.

3- The average hourly wage for downtown retail and food service workers in Chicago is $9.34 while the average hourly pay for the CEOs of those stores and restaurants is $6,000. So the reason why they’re rich is because they keep their workers (whether in Bangladesh, Guatemala, China, or Chicago), the ones whose labor ACTUALLY produces the profits, in poverty. 

4- If the minimum wage had kept up with the increase in worker productivity, our minimum wage today would be $22 an hour. Why is it not? Because corporations spend millions of dollars every year lobbying congress to keep the minimum wage stagnant so that their profits soar. 

5- Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour won’t raise the cost of housing/commodities/etc because the Federal Reserve does not allow price levels to rise more than 2% per year. This means then, that corporations will have to take the hit, but so fucking what? If they can keep lobbying congress to get billions of our taxpayer dollars in subsidies then they can MORE than afford to raise their workers’ wages. 

6- NOT EVERYONE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY OR MEANS TO ATTEND COLLEGE AND THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO LIVE IN POVERTY FOR THAT REASON. 

7- Even with a college degree (associates or bachelors), there AREN’T ENOUGH NON LOW-WAGE JOBS to accommodate all new graduates, which is why more than ever, degree-holding individuals are FORCED to work low-wage jobs while they search (often for years) for jobs in their fields. This is because ONE THIRD OF ALL JOBS in Chicago are low-wage jobs. After the 2008 economic crisis that was caused by the 1% and their banker buddies, 52% of all new jobs created nationally have been, and continue to be, in the low-wage service sector. In 2011 the United States officially became a service (i.e. low wage) economy as tech jobs and production jobs continue to be outsourced. 

8- Raising the minimum wage would increase economic activity in Chicago which would in turn create a demand for new jobs. 1 new job would be created for every 25 workers making the new minimum wage of $15 an hour.

9- It is a proven fact that poverty and wealth inequality PRODUCE CRIME as individuals seek out extra-legal means by which to generate an income. Raising the minimum wage would significantly reduce crime by creating jobs in the communities which need economic stimulation the most. 

10- WORKERS’ RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS and regardless of the opinion of people who devalue the work that low-wage workers do, EVERYONE DESERVES A LIVING WAGE. PERIOD.

Need Couch - Portland, OR

My name is Elliot and I’m an 18 year old nonbinary trans guy about to move to Portland due to being unable to make a living wage where I live now (Boston) despite working 40 hours a week. I escaped an incredibly abusive family last year and am by no means willing to go back to them. I need a couch/floor space to sleep on while I’m looking for a place to rent somewhere around June-July, depending on when my job transfer gets approved. 

I don’t have a car/pet/etc, don’t smoke, and don’t do drugs (but also don’t care if the space I’m in isn’t a sober one). I pretty much live out of two suitcases and would really prefer to stay off the streets when I move.

Thank you so much in advance!

Email: elliottakayama@gmail.com

vamptech 

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Members of the Graduate Student Employees Union/CWA 1104 (GSEU) and Adjuncts Instructors from the United University Professions (UUP) joined forces on Halloween for a Grade-In to raise awareness around their low wages and often unmanageable class sizes. GSEU & UUP members showed up to grade papers, review research and prep for their classes–all in an effort to remind President Jones and the entire SUNY Albany administration that Contingent Labor–Graduate & Teaching Assistant, as well as Adjunct labor, are essential to the function of our universities because contingent labor makes up about 39% of all credits taught at SUNY Albany. 

“I am a GA teaching 120 students right now and I did the math, my stipend pays me $60 per student for the entire semester. Doesn’t the University at Albany administration think our students are worth more than that?” said Nicole D'Anna, GSEU Chief Steward & 4th year PhD student in Sociology

Contingent labor often teaches the foundational courses across departments, making them the first contact for undergraduates entering SUNY Albany, but they are compensated so poorly many take on second jobs.

Vincent Commisso, a Political Science adjunct in the process of writing his dissertation offered his experience of working at a nearby cafe while teaching, “I get paid more to make sandwiches for my students than I do to teach them in a college course. Our universities are broken.”   When most folks think of university education, poverty-level wages for campus educators and support staff don’t come to mind but that’s what thousands of GTAs and Adjuncts are facing in the SUNY system. The average pay per course is $2,800 for adjuncts and around $13,000 per year for GTAs. The Self-Sufficiency Wage for 1 adult in Albany County is around $22,000.     The event ran for 3 hours and the dozen or so folks who showed up during the first 30 minutes had taught nearly 3,000 students total in their time at SUNY Albany. 

What makes me really mad about all this “fast-food workers don’t deserve a living wage” bull is seeing all the former fast food workers nod along.

Like, I know you’re making a living wage, NOW but imagine if you had been making that from age 16. Imagine college years were you don’t need two jobs & can study. Imagine saving enough up to be buying a house, right now, instead of renting or piling up roommates. Imagine helping your parents or helping your siblings. Imagine little to no student loan debt.

Imagine that grown ass manager you had. You remember the one. They had been in the restaurant for close to a decade. Trapped by the low pay and hungry mouths to feed, at home. Imagine them being able to move on when they decided it was time instead of taking out their frustrations on you. Imagine them -happy- to be there. Happy to be your mentor. Happy to see you in school because they -chose- that work & could unchoose it if they wanted to.

And now that you’re a customer… imagine people handling your food that have something precious to look forward to. Paid bills. A vacation. Well-fed family. Imagine your order rarely to never being wrong. Imagine service that isn’t grudging but glad. Imagine getting respect because they’re always given it. Because that lack of respect is mutual. Yeah, you might have smiled, but they’ve been getting yelled at, all day.

Imagine not being a dick to the people you think are below you. The only people that benefit from an obscenely low minimum wage are people that make 200 times what you do. And I don’t care what your college told you or what your company told you. UNLESS YOU WERE BORN ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE, YOU WILL NOT BECOME ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. You won’t ever profit from our minimum wage being low or our healthcare being paid out of pocket. You won’t.