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The rule is "a blatant political attack on a group of workers that are 90% women and majority people of color,” said April Verrett, president of SEIU Local 2015, which represents some 380,000 California home care and nursing home workers.
Since Fight for 15 launched in 2012, the idea of a $15 minimum wage has become a popular cause for progressive activists, and an increasingly popular talking point for Democrats occupying or seeking elected office.
Retail work does not have to pay poverty wages. New study compares work in Europe and the U.S. For all the power of market forces, from automation taking over routine tasks to globalization squeezing retailers’ margins, there is nothing inevitable about low-quality retail jobs. Social norms and political institutions can make them better, or worse.
It’s been almost a decade since the Great Recession, and America has witnessed a record 82 months of month-on-month jobs growth. The national unemployment rate now stands at a 4.3%, a 16-year low. But month after month, it is the low-wage sectors – fast food, retail, healthcare – that have added new jobs. Wage growth has barely kept pace with inflation. The national minimum wage ($7.25) was last raised in 2009.
Fight for $15 organizers have a long list of grievances against SEIU. They say they themselves do not get $15/hour. They are worried about the instability of their jobs and a tendency of the union to ramp up staff for one campaign, then shift only some of the staff to the next project. Ultimately, some workers say, SEIU's position may undermine public support and open up lines for employer attacks. See SEIU's response below.
"This movement is bigger than $15 and a union. This movement shows that no matter what’s going on in America, no matter what it is that we’re fighting for, if you want change for your city, for your community, for your country, we as a people can’t be silent anymore.