Labor Day is meant to honor workers for their contributions to society and recognize the importance of the American labor movement. However, this holiday also brings attention to the fact that more can be done to support American workers, including raising the minimum wage. This Labor Day, you can consider supporting the Fight for $15 movement if you want to make sure that employees around the country receive at least $15 an hour. If you'd like to stand in solidarity with this movement, there are several ways that you can contribute your time and talents.
As the movement describes on its website, Fight for $15 began several years ago when fast food workers in New York City went on strike to demand a wage of $15 an hour. Since that time, as the website notes, Fight for $15 has grown into a worldwide movement with a huge presence in the United States. For example, Fight for $15 advocates for the passage of the Raise the Wage Act, which would make the federal minimum wage $15 per hour, CNBC reported. Notably, the last time Congress raised the federal minimum wage was in 2007 — to its current rate of $7.25 per hour, Yahoo! Finance reported. In addition to its advocacy at the federal level, Fight for $15 has also helped secure the passage of various municipal and state laws guaranteeing employees at least $15 an hour — and continues to push for these laws in places where they have not yet passed, Fight for 15's website indicated.
Overall, as the movement describes online, Fight for $15 wants to help ensure that workers can actually support themselves with their income — and guaranteeing them at least $15 an hour is a solid place to start. If you want to help this movement gain even more momentum, consider following some of the tips below.
Sign The Fight For $15 Petition
You can sign a petition to support the Fight for $15 movement online via the organization's website. By signing the petition, you indicate that you stand in solidarity with the movement — and you'll also start to receive information about movement updates and actions.
Send A Text
Fight for $15 also says you can text "JOIN" to 64336 if you want to receive rapid response alerts about the movement and related actions.
Be An Organizer
Fight for $15 recommends organizing your own workplace if it doesn't provide a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour. The movement offers very specific tips on how to lead a strike and make related demands on its website, so be sure to read them in full before moving forward with your own initiative.
And, of course, if organizing your own workplace isn't something you can do, you can also join in on Fight for $15-led initiatives as they arise. The movement says it plans to release information about its next action soon.
Contact Your Legislators
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the aforementioned Raise the Wage Act in July 2019, though the bill has yet to pass the Senate, CNBC noted. Vox reported in August 2019 that the Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, has said that, so far, the committee (and the Senate as a whole), won't be considering the bill.
If you're a constituent of Senator Alexander, you can contact his office to encourage his committee to consider the bill. Moreover, if you live outside of Tennessee, think about contacting your own senators to urge them to bring attention to the bill and the fact that the committee isn't considering it.
You can also take action to support any local or statewide $15 minimum wage initiatives. Try googling your state or city and the phrase "$15 minimum wage" to see the status of the minimum wage in your location — and whether any legislation has been introduced to change it. If it has, you can reach out to your local or state representatives to encourage them to vote in favor of a $15 minimum wage law.
Support Labor Activism Organizations
Various labor organizations, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. You can help support these organizations in their push to raise the minimum wage — and improve labor practices more broadly — by completing action items on their websites.
Spread The Word
In addition to taking your own steps to support Fight for $15, you can also encourage your friends and family to do the same. Consider asking them to sign the movement's petition and receive its text message alerts — and encourage them to ask others to take these actions as well.
Moreover, if your friends and family aren't familiar with why raising the minimum wage is important, consider emphasizing that it will lower pay inequities and help ensure that people actually make a living wage. You can also share this helpful fact sheet from the Economic Policy Institute about the benefits of raising the minimum wage with them.
On Labor Day — and any day of the year — you can take action to help ensure that all employees are guaranteed at least $15 per hour for their hard work. The Fight for $15 movement has already been very effective in making this happen in many places, and your support could help guarantee their continued success.