I'm 57 years old and I've worked for McDonald's for seven years, getting paid a few pennies above the federal minimum wage. For a long time, I felt like I had no choice but to accept $7.65 an hour and the daily struggles that come along with that poverty wage. But in the last year, all that has changed.
The Fight for 15 movement is gaining momentum. It has won victories in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, San Francisco, Seattle and SeaTac. Yesterday, a New York State Wage Board formally recommended a $15.00 minimum wage for the fast food industry in New York. Governor Cuomo could move that to into law after reviewing it. The University of California just announced it would raise its minimum wage for several thousand workers to $15.00. The $15.00 minimum is likely headed to a referendum vote in the District of Columbia next year. Pressure is now building on the president to act. He deserves credit for issuing orders raising the minimum wage of contract employees to $10.10, and requiring contractors to obey various workplace laws. Now federal employees are striking for $15.00 and a union.
This is a historic moment. It marks a huge shift in mainstream thinking about the economy. Workers have won a better life for themselves and their families. We've beat back CEO-backed trickle-down economics. But we won't stop fighting until all workers win higher wages as the movement grows stronger.
Over the last 40 years, the largest corporations in this country have closed thousands of factories in the United States and outsourced millions of American jobs to low-wage countries overseas. That is why we need a new trade policy and why I am opposed to the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership now before Congress.
Today is the 25th anniversary of "Justice for Janitors Day," which commemorates an event that sparked one the most successful underpaid-worker campaigns in recent history: Justice for Janitors. But perhaps the most important contribution by janitors to our country has been how they have shaped today's broad and growing workers' movement.