On Cesar Chavez Day, Workers Make History: $15 minimum wage headed to the Governor for signature!
By Rachel Warino
“There’s no turning back. We will win. We are winning because ours is a revolution of mind & heart” – Cesar Chavez
Working people made history in California! The state is now one step closer to being the first in the nation to raise the minimum wage to $15! Both houses of the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 3 (Leno) to give millions of Californians a raise to $15 by 2022 and three paid sick days for all workers.
Hundreds of janitors, home care workers, grocery employees, hotel workers and others in low-wage jobs traveled to the Capitol to meet with their elected leaders to urge them to vote yes on the bill (SB3) and stayed to watch as the bill was voted on in both houses. As soon as the vote was over, workers headed outside the Capitol and were met by California State Secretary of Labor, David Lanier. Secretary Lanier confirmed to the cheering crowd that Governor Jerry Brown would sign the bill in Los Angeles on Monday!
Governor Brown and legislative leaders have been strong partners with workers and unions in making California the first state in the nation to make a $15 statewide wage a reality. By confronting low wages that are at the root of poverty, SB3 makes California the nation’s leader in tackling soaring income inequality.
At the rally following the announcement, Art Pulaski, Executive-Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation joined workers to celebrate this extraordinary victory:
“This is a historic day for California and the country. This victory is testament to the power working people hold when we stand together to demand a fair share of the economic gains we help create. As a result of the tireless advocacy of so many courageous low-wage workers, California takes a massive leap forward today in the fight to rebalance our nation’s economy.”
Laphonza Butler, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California and SEIU Local 2015 added:
“Wages didn't get raised until workers raised their voices. The credit for making history today belongs to the workers who spoke out and risked it all, the labor unions and community organizations who supported them, and elected leaders here in California who listened. As a result, millions of Californians are on the path out of poverty,”
Lisa Scott, a home care provider from El Dorado County shared how this win will impact her life:
“I am RELIEVED that our elected leaders have heard us. For me, $15 an hour means I can have fresh produce without relying on food banks. I live in a rural area but that doesn’t mean it’s not an expensive place to live and work. In fact, gas is expensive because I have to do so much driving. I’ve never met my youngest grandson who is five because I haven’t been able to save money for a plane ticket. $15 means I can finally save money to visit him and my other grandchildren out of state.”
The historic vote puts California one step closer to lifting the wages of 5.3 million Californians – or one third of all workers. Among those who will see a raise, 96% are age 20 or older and 37% have children according to a new report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center.
This historic announcement is the direct result of a worker-led movement to lift our economy from the bottom up. We cannot imagine a better way to honor the legacy of Cesar Chavez. ¡Sí, se puede!
Stay tuned for Monday! Also be sure to check out the #CAfor15 on Twitter and Facebook to follow the action!