Why Support a $15 Minimum Wage for Oregon?

Low-wage workers hold signs reading "Lucha por 15" and "We are worth more." Photo courtesy of http://www.lrionline.com/wp-content/uploads/chi-fight-for-15-20130424.jpg
Low-wage workers hold signs reading “LUCHA POR 15″ and “WE ARE WORTH MORE.” Photo by the Labor Relations Institute

As workers movements surge across the nation, 15 Now Oregon is leading the fight to end poverty wages in our state. We are educating, advocating, and organizing for a ballot measure that would raise our minimum wage over three years to $15 an hour by 2019. Here’s why you should support us.

As the class divide grows, poverty wages are the new normal

Oregon’s working families are falling behind. Our state economy is the second-fastest growing in the nation, and business is better than ever. But most workers’ wages haven’t kept up with the rising cost of living for decades, and 95 percent of income gains since the Great Recession have gone to the wealthiest one percent. Meanwhile, nearly half of new jobs pay poverty wages, and there are nine job-seekers for every available living-wage job. Amid a lack of opportunity, hard work is no longer enough to get ahead.

All workers are people who should be treated with respect

At the current minimum wage of $9.25 an hour, a full-time worker takes home less than $20,000 a year. That’s not enough to live on, let alone support a family. Women, people of color, and single parents are overrepresented among the more than half a million Oregonians who make less than $15. They grow, cook and serve our food, clean our classrooms and hotel rooms, care for our elderly relatives in hospitals and homes, and do many other tasks our communities rely on. They shouldn’t have to live in poverty.

Living wages mean more local spending and less dependence on government

When so many working families can only afford to shop at Walmart and McDonalds, it’s hard for small businesses to succeed. A $15 minimum wage would put an additional $3.2 billion in the pockets of the people most likely to spend in their communities. It would also reduce the need for food stamps and other government assistance, which for low-wage workers costs Oregon taxpayers $1.7 billion every year. A $15 minimum wage is a path to economic security and self-sufficiency for hardworking Oregonians.

We’re building a workers movement, but we need your help

It’s time for working families to collect the living wage we have earned. Big business lobbyists will fight hard to stop us from getting a raise, but with your help, we can fight back and we can win. Over 100 labor unions, community organizations, and small businesses have endorsed 15 Now Oregon.

No one who works should live in poverty. Will you join our fight for $15?

Your support makes a difference. You can help us end poverty wages by making a donation or by volunteering with 15 Now Oregon. To find out more, please read the FAQ or contact us.