Oregonians for 15 Files Ballot Measure for a Statewide $15 Minimum Wage

Chief Petitioner Jamie Partridge filing for $15 minimum wage ballot initiative in Oregon.
Chief Petitioner Jamie Partridge filing for $15 minimum wage ballot initiative in Oregon.

Building on momentum from the packed minimum wage hearing in Salem on April 13th, and from huge rallies for $15 in Portland and at worksites across the state on April 15th as part of a national day of action, Oregonians for 15 filed today with the State Elections Division for a ballot measure that would raise Oregon’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2019.

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Will Oregon Democrats Balk at Raising the Minimum Wage?

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) wields his gavel. Photo by Michael Lloyd of the Oregonian
Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) wields his gavel. Photo by Michael Lloyd of the Oregonian

Raising the minimum wage has become a major political issue in Oregon. Democrats in Oregon won their recent elections by promising to raise the minimum wage, while at the same time many labor and community groups have demanded a $15 minimum wage to raise hard-working Oregonians out of poverty.

Consequently, significant media attention was generated that amplified the issue, as did the many town halls which state senators and representatives held across the state. As a result, most people now expect Oregon politicians to pass some increase in the minimum wage.

While SB 610, which raises Oregon’s minimum wage to $15 per hour over 3 years, has 16 sponsors – well more than any of the other minimum wage bills – it seems there is still some question as to whether this bill will even make it to the floor for a vote. There is speculation that Democrats might try to kill the $15 bill in committee.

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All Out for Committee Hearing on $15 Minimum Wage in Oregon

Call out to all low-wage workers, labor unions, community organizations, Oregon residents, concerned citizens…Income equality is out of control. The cost of living in Oregon continually outpaces the national inflation rate. Working families in Oregon increasingly have to rely on food stamps, Oregon Health Plan, and other public benefits because big businesses increase their profits by paying poverty wages to hard working people. Oregon taxpayers subsidize those poverty wages to the tune of more than $1.7 billion per year

SB 610 will raise Oregon’s minimum wage and help bring working families out of poverty. This and other minimum wage bills have a public joint committee hearing at the state capitol building in Salem on Monday April 13th at 6pm

Let’s pack the capitol and demand that our legislators be real leaders, that they take a stand for working people in Oregon, that the committees vote YES on SB 610 for a $15 minimum wage in Oregon. No one who works should live in poverty!

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April 15 National Day of Action for $15 and a Union

Wednesday April 15, 12pm, O’Byrant Square downtown Portland.fbInvite

Organized by 15 Now PDX, Portland Jobs with Justice, SEIU Locals 49 & 503, Oregon AFSCME, and LIUNA Local 483


Join PSU workers, janitors, food service workers, care providers, city workers, community and other allies here in Portland as we continue the Fight for $15 and a union!

Fast-food workers, homecare workers, Walmart workers, airport workers, convenient store workers and others are coming together to fight income inequality by demanding $15 and union. Across the country, workers have engaged in walkouts and one-day strikes to make their demands. On April 15 here in Portland, Janitors will be highlighted in joining in the national day of action and Fight for $15!

Join us at 12pm at O’Bryant Square in downtown Portland. We will have a short rally at the park and then we will march to various locations where workers in downtown Portland are currently engaged in the Fight for $15. There will chanting, marching, balloons, direct actions, and more!

Join us and Fight for $15. Because no one who works should live in poverty.

Organized by 15 Now PDX, Portland Jobs with Justice, SEIU Local 49, SEIU Local 503, AFSCME, LiUNA Local 483

Movement to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 Keeps Growing; Activists Demand Change to State Law

This article first appeared in Portland Occupier

“I’m here, and I’m tired, and I’m speaking out with all the strength that I have. We need 15 now.”

Those words, spoken by Janice Niag, a First Student bus driver, demanding changes to the City’s Fair Wage Policy summed up the feeling at SEIU Local 49 Hall on October 20. Over 100 people attended the community meeting organized by the 15 Now Oregon campaign, which has been gathering momentum for many months in its drive to get the City to change its minimum wage for contract workers to $15 an hour.

15 Now Oregon is also pushing the Oregon legislature to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour and overturn the preemption clause that forbids local governments from raising the private sector minimum wage in their jurisdictions.

Niag was among a handful of people who gave anecdotal force to the litany of facts and statistics presented by Lewis and Clark College economics professor Martin Hart-Landsberg. Hart-Landsberg painted a bleak picture of the past 40 years, showing how the wealthy have gained vast control over the US political system through concerted effort that results in legislation and court decisions that continuously funnel more and more wealth upward. These changes–tax code makeovers, the diminution of people’s rights to organize, greater militarization of the economy and erroneously named free trade agreements–all contribute to an economy that “works very well for an increasingly small percentage of the population and that works very poorly for the rest of us,” Hart-Landsberg said.

Read the full article here