$15 Ballot Initiative Ends Signature Gathering: Statement by 15 Now

It’s no secret that the minimum wage bill passed by the Oregon state legislature is too low and too slow. It leaves working people outside of the Portland area behind, and it phases in so slowly that it does not and will not create a living wage anywhere in Oregon. It won’t make working families self-sufficient, and it fails to bring low-wage workers out of poverty. Nevertheless, due to a significant decline in organizational and voter support since the passage of this bill, the Oregonians for 15 coalition has regretfully suspended signature gathering and will withdraw its $15 statewide ballot initiative.
 
While it’s true that this bill is insufficient and doesn’t provide self-sufficiency for low-wage workers, it’s also important to recognize the real and historic significance of this bill’s passage both for Oregon and for the broader minimum wage movement throughout the United States. Not only will we have the highest statewide minimum wage in the country with 650,000 people across the state getting a raise, but this is notably also one of the largest victories yet in the national Fight for $15.
 
Portland and 24 other surrounding cities are will now have a $15 minimum wage with a phase in that, while too long, is along a similar timeframe as in cities like Seattle and Los Angeles. This means that hundreds of thousands of working people in 25 cities are getting a raise to $15. In terms of the sheer number of cities affected, there is no doubt this is the largest step toward $15 so far anywhere in the nation. So even if this law will not bring workers out of poverty, it is nevertheless an achievement that we should be proud of. We hope this accomplishment serves to inspire others across the nation to continue the Fight for $15 with increasing boldness.

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New basic family budget calculator for Oregon shows $15 is the right number

The Oregon Center for Public Policy has published a new Basic Family Budget Calculator for the State of Oregon.

oregonbasicfamilybudget

The new calculator “estimates the income a family needs to secure a safe and decent — yet modest — living standard in the community in which the family resides. The calculator takes into account the cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities and taxes for families. The calculator does not include savings for retirement, for a rainy day or for college.”

You can see that for all family types except a single individual with no kids, the least amount of hourly income needed is around $15 per hour or more anywhere in the state, including rural Oregon. For example, a single mother needs to earn at least $21.51 per hour to afford only the very basic necessities, and this is the case even in rural Oregon, not just in Portland. In families with two parent and two children–assuming both parents work 40 hours per week–each parent needs to earn at least $14.54-$16.30 per hour just in order to scrape by and afford only the very basic necessities. If that same two parent family has only one income because one parent is in school, for example, then the one working parent needs to earn $29-$33 per hour in order to take care of their family here in Oregon.

StandStrong15Something to take special note of is that the calculator doesn’t include enough income to be able to save for the future or for emergencies. It also doesn’t include any income to make payments on the large amount of student loans or credit debt that many families have. These omissions are important because if included, the amount of income needed by each family type would increase considerably. If a single person has a monthly debt payment of $300, then her estimated needed income goes up by $3,600 per year. Suddenly this single individual with no children, even if she lives in rural Oregon, needs at least $14.18-$16.26 per hour in order to pay her bills.

The conclusion to be drawn from the new Basic Family Budget Calculator is that a $15 minimum wage is the right number for Oregon. While there are small subsets of family demographics that could potentially scrape by on slightly less (of course only if we don’t take savings or debt payments into account), it is clear that anything less than $15 will leave too many Oregonians and their families behind, continuing to struggle to make ends meet, and continuing to need to rely on public assistance in order to survive despite getting up and going to work for 8 hours everyday. No one who works should live in poverty, and 15 Now Oregon is dedicated to fighting for a minimum wage that works for all Oregonians, not just some Oregonians.

Join the Fight for $15 in Oregon today and help us become the first state to win $15 minimum wage. With your help we can win a massive victory for Oregon’s working class!

Small Businesses Support a $15 Minimum Wage for Oregon

In the wake of victories for $15 in Los Angeles and for fast food workers in New York, momentum for a statewide $15 minimum wage in Oregon continues to build. Signature gathering for the ballot is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

Bipartisan
Bipartisan Cafe with an “I’d Shop Here” sign in their window to show support for a $15 minimum wage.

Meanwhile, seventeen businesses associations and Portland-area businesses have already signed on in support of a $15 minimum wage (see the full list of over 100 labor unions, community and faith organizations, and small businesses that have endorsed $15 in Oregon). These small businesses support $15 because they understand that when people who live in their communities have more money to spend, that their businesses will have more customers. The businesses and business associations include:

The Main Street Alliance of Oregon

Bipartisan Cafe

Paper Jam Press

Hawthorne Auto Clinic

Shwop

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New Report Shows $15 is the Right Number for Oregon

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 7.48.00 AMINTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

Across the state, almost three quarters of a million working Oregonians and their families are struggling to survive on poverty wages. Regardless of where you live in Oregon, the current minimum wage of $9.25 is grossly inadequate to support a family. The proposal to raise Oregon’s minimum wage to $15 gives all working Oregonians–both rural and urban–the opportunity to earn a wage that allows them to be self-sufficient, while repealing the state’s minimum wage preemption law will allow the more expensive areas of the state to set a wage the works best for them.

Click here to read the full report

$15 Minimum Wage Initiative Qualifies for Ballot Title

Originally published by Oregonians for 15

(Salem, OR) — Yesterday it was announced that the $15 minimum wage ballot initiative that was filed by Oregonians for 15 has enough valid signatures to qualify for a ballot title. The coalition of labor and community groups submitted 2,000 signatures on June 30. Of those, 1,000 needed to be valid to qualify for a ballot title. According to the Office of the Secretary of State Elections Division, 1,808 of the signatures are valid. That is an impressively high validity rate of 90.4%.

The initiative now goes to the state Attorney General’s office, which has until July 23rd to present a draft of the ballot title. Once a ballot title has been drafted both Oregonians for 15 and any opposition organizations will have the opportunity to challenge the title, and can take that challenge all the way to the state supreme court. Supporters cannot continue collecting signatures for the initiative until that ballot title process is complete. [Continue reading]