Fight for $15 Achieves Historic Victory in the U.S. House

BILL GIVES OVER 33 MILLION WORKING PEOPLE A MUCH NEEDED RAISE 

WASHINGTON - Today, the House of Representatives passed the ground-breaking Raise the Wage Act of 2019. The bill increases the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and makes sure that the minimum wage is never reduced to a poverty wage again. Now the bill moves to the U.S. Senate where Republican leaders are expected to face substantial pressure from workers, advocates, labor unions and progressive lawmakers to vote on the bill.

“This is an incredible victory for the over 33.5 million people who would get a much needed raise and for the thousands of organizers, activists and progressive lawmakers who have fought so hard for $15 and a union all across this country,” said Liz Watson, executive director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center.  

“Today’s win in the House is a result of the blood, sweat and tears of tens of thousands of working people who stood up and demanded a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.  From fast food workers to preschool teachers and EMTs, the Raise the Wage Act would mean more money in the pockets of more than one-fifth the workforce including nearly one-third of all working women,” continued Watson. “We applaud the House for standing with working people, especially champions Rep. Scott, Rep. Pocan, Rep. Jayapal, Rep. Murphy, Rep. Norcross, and Rep. Levin and the many other progressive leaders who fought so hard to bring this bill to a vote. We call on the Senate to do their job and immediately vote on this vital legislation.”

In a historic step, the House of Representatives also voted to eliminate the racist and discriminatory subminimum wage for tipped workers that has been stuck at a measly $2.13 an hour since 1991.  Eliminating the tipped minimum wage is critical to ending on-the-job harassment and abuse. In states with a subminimum wage for tipped workers, restaurant workers report double the rates of sexual harassment

“Eliminating the tipped subminimum wage is a critical step towards healing the brutal legacy of slavery in this country,” said Watson.

The bill also takes the critically important steps of eliminating the discriminatory subminimum wage for people with disabilities and youth.

The minimum wage has been stuck at just $7.25 for over a decade, the longest time the U.S. has gone without raising the federal minimum wage since it was first created in 1938.  “All across the country, working people are standing up and demanding action. This is their victory,” added Watson.  

Jessica Juarez Scruggs