Why $15 is just the beginning

UFCW 21 has worked for years with other leaders in the community to improve wages, benefits and working conditions for our members and millions of others – union and non-union workers alike. On April 1, 2015 tens of thousands of workers in Seattle got a raise to $11 an hour because we fought hard to pass the higher minimum wage in Seattle. Raising the bottom wage for all workers also helps our argument to shorten the time it takes to move to the top of the wage scale. The people at the top of the scale deserve a real wage increase as well. We believe we are all better off when we are all better off. 
 
Our pressure is working. Walmart, Target and other large, anti-union employers, have announced wage increases for hundreds of thousands of employees. This gives us more leverage for higher wages in our contract negotiations. We’ll keep winning when we get out in the streets and demand change. We have proven this during our contract fights at Skagit Regional, Harrison Hospital, the 2013 Grocery campaign and beyond.  In all these cases we took our stories to the street and won. 

 Candice Hemphill from the SouthCenter Macy’s stood up for all working people by speaking at an April 15 rally and then took an arrest as part of a planned civil disobedience to support workers.

Candice Hemphill from the SouthCenter Macy’s stood up for all working people by speaking at an April 15 rally and then took an arrest as part of a planned civil disobedience to support workers.


On April 15, UFCW 21 joined actions across our state and nation saying, “$15 is Just the Beginning.”
 
The debate needs to be about far more than minimum wage. We need more hours, we need fair schedules. We need paid sick days so we can stay home when we are sick or care for a sick child without fear of losing our jobs. We need health care so we can go to the doctor to prevent illness or treat illness. We need enough money to afford a safe place to live.  We need to be able to retire in dignity.   
 
Working together, we can improve the lives of working people in the country. We are making progress, and we need to keep the pressure on.