Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with Progressive Caucus members Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Judy Chu (D-CA), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) released the following statements in support of fast food workers striking today across the country to demand employers raise wages to $15 an hour and allow workers to organize unions without retaliation.
“Today, fast food workers from across the country stand united as they strike for fair compensation, and I am proud to stand by their side,” Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) said. “We are a nation that believes in the dignity of hard work, but too many Americans with full time jobs still struggle to make ends meet. We must raise the minimum wage and pay workers a living wage to ensure the American Dream remains within reach for all who are willing to work for it.”
“Thousands of fast food workers will be out in the street today, demanding a living wage and the right to organize,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) said. “They’re doing it because they have families to feed and parents to look after. They’re doing it because they have basic needs that can’t be met at $7.25 an hour. They’re standing for the possibility of a better future and an economy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy few. I’m proud to stand with them.”
“The federal minimum wage of $7.25 is a starvation wage,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “I applaud the fast-food workers all across the country who are striking today to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Nobody who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.”
“In recent years, the disparity in income and wealth between very rich and everyone else has continued to increase,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) said. “Today, for example, the richest one percent of Americans own more than one-third of our wealth. Yet there are also millions of Americans who work full-time but, earning only the minimum wage, cannot afford to support a family or to save for the future. Our economy should reward hard work. We have a responsibility to honor the dignity of work, and the individual dignity of workers. We have a responsibility to enact a living wage.”
“It is time for our workers on the front lines to be paid a fair wage. Doing so will help families avoid poverty and help grow our economy. Sixty eight percent of fast food workers are the main wage earners in their families. Women, especially women of color, are disproportionately represented in this group. I support them and their strike today because a job should be a way out of poverty, not a tether to it,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).
“I proudly join the effort to support the fast food workers’ Fight for 15. In America, the land of opportunity, no one who works full-time should be struggling to raise a family,” said Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). Increases in minimum wage have not kept pace with the rising costs of basic necessities for the average American family, while income inequality has increased by 23 percent since 2008. If we want to help build real, lasting economic security, the federal minimum wage must be raised to a living wage. At its core, giving America a pay raise is not just about ensuring fair compensation, but also preserving justice and dignity for all workers.”
“I’m proud to stand with the national movement of fast food workers organizing for $15 an hour. Each and every American worker deserves an honest, living wage for an honest, hard day’s work,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA). “I’m also proud to call Seattle home – the city recently approved a $15 an hour minimum wage. Seattle’s historic action on raising the wage underscores an essential truth: the 20th century American economy was built by the middle class and the middle class was built by a living wage and the right to organize. For the American economy to thrive in the 21st century, we must guarantee our workers the wages, benefits and on-the-job protections they deserve. It’s time to follow Seattle’s lead and raise the wage from coast to coast.”
“It’s time to raise the pay of fast food workers and everyone earning a low wage in this country,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI). “Companies should pay their workers fair wages and put more money in the hands of consumers to help strengthen our economy. These companies are super-sizing their profits while their workers are struggling to make ends meet.”