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It was a cold clear Saturday morning on December 22, 2012 when I got off the CTA Green Line and walked toward the St. James Cathedral to join with members of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC). WOCC was planning march and sit-in to demand a living wage of $15 an hour for Chicago’s downtown retail and restaurant workers. The Illinois minimum wage is now $8.25, far below what is needed to support families or even individuals. WOCC hopes to talk directly with the downtown business community.

The Hawk, Chicago’s legendary icy wind off the Lake, was not present as I crossed the Michigan Ave bridge on the way to the Cathedral. The Hawk can easily cut through the North Face jackets favored by many Chicagoans and makes carrying a large protest banner as tricky as sailing a schooner around Cape Horn. And leafletting to passersby when The Hawk comes down? You can lose dozens of fliers in an instant if you relax your grip and then have to chase a passel of airborne leaflets through crowds of shoppers and tourists. 

The weather was with us that day. 

WOCC was a new union in town, barely a month old, but had already pulled off two successful public actions including banner drops at Macy’s department store and marches through Chicago’s upscale Magnificent Mile (aka MagMile) shopping district. 

Workers Organizing committee of Chicago
WOCC on the march
 

At the St. James Cathedral, we practiced a satiric song we’d sing at stops along the march route. Two WOCC members were dressed up as the Biblical Mary and Joseph in the tradition of the Latin American Posada, a procession commemorating their search for lodgings on what is now Christmas Eve.  Our Posada would symbolize the search for justice by downtown workers.

Pastor Liz Munoz
Pastor Liz  at our singing practice

Our practice singing was a little ragged and we wandered around the musical scale a bit, but we belted out the words with enthusiasm. An energetic and joyful Rev. Liz Muñoz assured us we were doing fine and to have fun with it. To boost our morale even more, WOCC thoughtfully passed out warm red stocking caps with the WOCC logo embossed on them. I eagerly removed my baseball hat and donned mine. 

Our Posada for worker justice 

WOCC members portray the Biblical Mary and Joseph in a Posada.
WOCC members play the roles of the Biblical Mary and Joseph.

There were about 150 of us as we left the Cathedral on our Posada. Although our spirits were high and we planned to be light-hearted throughout the afternoon, we were 100% serious. Yana, a worker at Macy's on the Magnificent Mile, had explained one of our purposes at an earlier Fight for 15 action:

“I work in the Water Tower and have been doing so for 9 months.I'm here with the union fighting for $15 because we work hard for little pay. We deserve more for the work we're putting in for these companies, right? I'm passionate about this campaign because in my neighborhood I see a direct connection to the poverty in my community for the lack of jobs.You've got the violence and the gang rivalry. I personally have lost loved ones and friends and I've seen my family members and friends do the same. The violence and everything wouldn't happen if there were jobs out here for people to make a decent living. I’m in a fight for survival." ---Yana, a worker at Macy's

For workers like Yana, this is more than a struggle for better pay. It is literally a matter of life and death. Yana’s analysis is backed up by solid research in WOCC’s detailed report “A Case for $15: A Low Wage Work Crisis”. In that context, our Posada was also a a celebration of peace and hope in dark times. 

We marched though the MagMile neighborhood, stopping briefly at McDonalds, Jimmy Johns and Starbucks to sing our satiric Posada song and deliver our message to passersby with leaflets. Our final destination was the Macy’s at Water Tower Place.

WOCC in front of a McDonalds
WOCC stops at McDonalds

Almost two dozen people had been assigned to block Pearson Street next to Water Tower Place in a sit-in to protest Macy’s low wage policies. The cops allowed us sufficient amount of time to make our point and then moved in for arrests. People were cited and quickly released, allowing them to could join us back at the rendezvous point at St James Cathedral. We made the local news who treated the story more decently than I expected.  

Arrest at a Fight for 15 sit-in
Police make arrests next to Macy's

Fight for 15 wants a meeting with the Greater North Michigan Avenue Business Association, which represents companies on the MagMile. Among its Board of Directors is Richard Simon, CEO of United Service Companies, the parent of United Maintenance, the mob linked janitorial firm that just won a juicy contract from the City. It’s Chicago, so you are never too far from The Outfit. 

A living wage for is an investment that will repay itself many times over. 

“I'm a single mom raising 5 children by myself.And I am here to let you all know that we all go through struggles, not just me but all of us. We can't live off $8.25 so we're here today to fight for what we know is right. Now I am also part of Goodlow Magnet Local School Council. I've been there for 4 years. I've been there as a parent-teacher advocate for 3 years.I've been a volunteer parent for 7 years. I have put all my work into my children's education.”---Parthenia Barnes of Chicago’s West Englewood community. 

Parthenia’s $9 an hour seasonal salary at Macy’s means she has to rely on public assistance to meet basic needs. Macy’s refuses to give her a regular work schedule which is very hard on her as a parent with children. She has asked that Macy’s not schedule her when she has a Local School Council meeting, but they ignore her. The Local School Councils are a vital part of maintaining quality education in the Chicago Public Schools.

A case for $15
A Case for $15

For people like Parthenia and the thousands more like her in Chicago, a living wage with regular schedules and generous benefits would result in more stable families and more stable neighborhoods. Reducing financial stress means better physical health and a reduction in domestic and street violence. People would have more time and resources for their children, their schools and their communities. They would have more money to spend in their neighborhood, helping small businesses stay alive and creating more jobs. There would be fewer evictions and foreclosures. 

There would be less need for public assistance. People could more easily further their education, become involved in hobbies and recreation, which besides being personally fulfilling for those individuals, can also be a job and income creator. Because of Chicago’s long history of racial separation, the burden of low wages falls heaviest on communities of color.

Since parental income is the single best predictor of school success for children, raising wages to a decent level would do wonders for the Chicago Public Schools and could help end the destructive drive for privatization through charters and turnarounds. 

Fight for the Future: How low wages are failing children in Chicago Schools
How low wages are failing children in Chicago Schools

A living wage has a multiplier effect that goes far beyond the individuals who would receive it. A living wage is a smart investment to create a better city for all. 

If a living wage is a good social investment, then why is Chicago’s political and financial elite so opposed it? 

“Whose city? Our city!” 

In 1968, Henri Lefebvre wrote the book Le Droit à la ville (The Right to the City) which asked who has the right to make and transform a city? His book launched a global Right to the City movement which seeks to democratize a process which is largely dominated by political and economic elites. At the US Social Forum in 2008, the Right to the City Movement was explained this way: 

“The right cannot be limited to people who own property in the cities or to legally recognized citizens; instead it belongs to all urban residents: working class people, poor people, homeless people, youth, women, queer people, people of color, immigrants, all of us. The people of the city have the right to remain in their cities and to benefit from what the city has to offer. Perhaps even more importantly, they have the right to democratically determine the future development of the city.” 

Across Chicago, the cry of “Whose city? Our city?” has been raised at countless rallies and marches, with Fight for 15 being the latest to add their voices. Why should the wealth created by Chicago’s working class be invested without their participation in the decisions?  Why should it be invested in bloated CEO compensation like the $14.5 million awarded to Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren when Macy’s workers are struggling just to survive?

“Analysis of more than 50 publicly traded retail and restaurant companies that have operations in the downtown Chicago area found that the average CEO compensation package in 2011 was about $8.3 million.

If broken down as an hourly wage, this would amount to $4,011 per hour (assuming they work a forty hour week), about 409 times more than what these companies pay their typical worker.”--- A Case for $15: A low wage work crisis 

Chicago is one of the wealthiest cities on the planet through its participation in global finance, yet very little this money makes its way to the city’s working class. Poverty has been increasing in Chicago every year since the 2008 Crash, with child poverty now afflicting over 1/3 of Chicago’s children. Investing in exotic casino capitalism schemes is somehow more important than Chicago’s children. 

The trend in Chicago is toward divestment in working class neighborhoods, low wages for workers and deep cuts in public services. The city elite has engaged in deliberate unionbusting through privatization, resulting in unstable jobs with few worker protections. The City has closed mental health centers, reduced library services, closed neighborhood schools, slashed CTA transit routes and seems hell bent on turning more lucrative city services over to private companies with political ties to the Mayor. 

Since the 2008 Crash the top 1% of the USA has reaped 93% of real income growth. The corrosive effect of gross income inequality on the social fabric of nations has been well documented. Besides being a crime against humanity, it is also dangerous to the very capitalist system so-beloved by our political and financial elites. One of the major factors in both the 1929 and 2008 financial crashes was income inequality. 

Chicago’s economic and political elite thinks it is the sole owner of the city, even as they force it down a perilous economic path. The Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago does not agree.

“You leave us with no other choice. Working people still have a voice.”--from the WOCC Posada song 

That line from WOCC’s Posada song reminds us that although we are up against some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in human history, we also have a power if we choose to use it. After the demonstration ended at Macy’s, most people headed back to the Cathedral. I decided to duck into Water Tower Place on Michigan Ave to get a quick cup of coffee and write some notes about the events of the day.  

I was stopped from entering by two security guards who refused to give me their names. My crime? I was wearing a red WOCC stocking cap with the union logo. If I took it off, I could go inside. If a single union cap is seen as a threat to Corporate Chicago, imagine if there were 10,000 people on Michigan Avenue wearing caps from their unions? Or 100,000? Or 500,000?  

A million, or even more? Now that would be a day of reckoning.


Video of the December 22, 2012 WOCC march and sit-in.

Sources consulted

 A case for $15: A low wage worker crisis

 Fight for the future: How low wages are failing children in Chicago’s schools

21 Protesters Arrested At Mag Mile Demonstration For Raising Minimum Wage

Originally posted to In Support of Labor and Unions on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Chicago Kossacks, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Invisible People.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fair treatment, or dire consequences. Only the (11+ / 0-)

    people can enforce change. History tells us this truth.

    So, there you have it, but whadda ya got?

    by Wendys Wink on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:50:17 AM PST

    •  In Australia, Min Wage is almost $16/hr (5+ / 0-)

      Their dollar is as strong as ours. They also have universal healthcare and so on. However, their hegemony budget is much smaller. Must be a question of priorities.

      The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

      by teacherjon on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:08:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the money comes right back in. (0+ / 0-)

        Spending habits (probably unfortunately) do not change based on income...so the 16 year old that is making min wage at a summer job is probably going to blow it as fast as he/she would've at 8.25....I don't see a need for an age floor on this proposal.

        The Mayans knew about Chained CPI!!!!

        by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:22:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Age floor? (0+ / 0-)

          So we're supposed to be nannies now and make ageist  assumptions about people's behavior?

          Some 16 year olds are also the breadwinners in their families.

          Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

          by Nulwee on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:22:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, but living on a fixed income (5+ / 0-)

    from Social Security and VA compensation, there's no way I, or millions of seniors like me, could survive the instant inflation nearly doubling the minimum wage would bring.

    Phase it in over a long enough enough time frame for COLAs, chained or not, to keep up and I'm in your corner. Without that it's my ox you're goring, not the employers who must pass the increase along.

    Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Monkeys kill people too, if they have guns.

    by DaNang65 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:57:29 AM PST

    •  That's only if the CEOs continue to make (5+ / 0-)

      400 times as much per hour as the average worker.
      And asking for more than you know is possible is a good place to start bargaining anyway.

    •  Don't worry. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      misslegalbeagle

      The House is not going to pass a min wage increase, certainly not such a big one.

    •  I hope you are not suggesting... (8+ / 0-)

      ...the low wage workers continue to tolerate the social ills that a low wage economy generates. People living on fixed incomes also live in the communities being blighted by low wages. Besides, who says fixed incomes have to stay fixed? Social Security and VA benefits are pegged far too low considering that defined benefit pensions are going the way of the passenger pigeon.

      Yes, it will take a massive social reform movement the likes of which we haven't seen in decades. But let's get started. There's no time to waste.

      "Don't believe everything you think."

      by BobboSphere on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:53:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is no need for that kind of thinking because (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mentatmark, historys mysteries

      the real truth is that costs will not increase with the wages unless the greedy Corporate Masters insist on it.....How about speaking up about that.  I too live on SS and am all for a increase into a living wage....

      •  This is pure B.S. fantasy (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, ffour, 1918, Nulwee

        Costs of running a business DO unavoidably increase with wages, unless you've found some magic loophole in fundamental economics that no one else has thus far discovered.  The valid, realistic issue is: for the given type of enterprise in question, what percentage component of cost does labor (and labor of any particular type) represent?  The labor cost factor can be very different across different types of businesses, a relatively high percentage where service is a dominant component (e.g. restaurants), a lower percentage where mechanized production is a relatively more dominant component of both production and costs.

        Yes, the greed of corporate masters is an issue, e.g. vulture capitalists loading companies up with debt, siphoning off assets, in particular raiding cash assets which should by contract be allocated to employee pensions, etc.  Nevertheless, the issue of the ways and extent to which upper-management and vulture capitalists exploitatively abuse workers isn't at all the exclusive key economic factor involved; inescpabably, in even the most progressively, socially enlightened business model, enterprises still must make fundamental economic sense: the ability to sustainably bring in more revenue than costs of doing business.  Cost of labor is a nontrivial proportion of those costs for most businesses.

    •  Those of us living on fixed incomes (4+ / 0-)

      ARE ALREADY paying the price for low-wage workers. We pay for it when we subsidize low wage workers who qualify for food stamps, Medicaid, day care for their children, and sadly, for crimes stemming from economic desperation. We also pay when we give tax cuts to their employers who pocketed the excess profits that should have gone to workers in their paychecks.

      “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

      by RJDixon74135 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:05:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh okay. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKinTN

      We take out $20-$60 K in college debt because your generation presided over the 'you need a college degree to be an administrative assistant' phenomenon, we keep social security solvent which Gen X was unable to do (due to its smaller size) but don't give us any sort of means to make up for 10 lost years, decades of student loan payments, and a delayed ability to pay into our retirements.

      And I mean that literally. I'm 10 years behind where I was told I was supposed to be, and I have one of the more impressive resumes for somebody I know my age who was not born wealthy or with any connections.

      Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

      by Nulwee on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:25:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the diary BobboSphere. (4+ / 0-)

    We ought to have one of these actions frontpaged every day.

  •  I was earning $8.25/jr in 1991. (10+ / 0-)

    Wasn't enough then. It's nothing now.

    it would be 'fine' as a teen wage, maybe. But you can't live indoors AND eat every day on it. Not in a place as expensive as Chicago.

    I still earn less than $50k/year and THAT is not enough. I AM buying a house and my wife is buying a car  - that's better than many are doing, but there's no health ins, no savings, zero investments other than my severely humble abode.

    We all need more money. Republicans have done an excellent job seeing that the rich suck up more and more of it.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:39:03 AM PST

  •  Good on all of you! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbob, Mentatmark, Amber6541

    Thank you for this excellent, passionate, thoughtful diary and for your fight for justice (and common sense).

    Down with False Equivalence! Truth over Balance!! Real Reporting, Please!!!

    by LarisaW on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:41:36 AM PST

  •  Do Workers pay for selves $15/hr (?) (4+ / 0-)

    Bottom line is that business enterprises, including restaurants, must be economically self-sustaining to get off the ground and survive.  They cannot hire a worker unless the sustainable net economic result of keeping that worker on the payroll is to raise more revenue for the business than the added incremental cost of the worker.  That business income revenue doe NOT come in merely from satisfying anyone's idea of a "living wage", or any other socially ideal criteria.  

    There IS on a macro scale, a mutual feedback dynamic (which Henry Ford recognized with autos) whereby the more people earning a sufficient income to afford a company's products, the bigger the market for that company's products, and without enough such people to sustain a company, there isn't enough of a market for the company to stay in business.  In that sense, socially progressive policies on worker pay also do make sense economically.  But neither can the wage level be set independently of the economic output value of the workers in question to the business's income.

    The purpose of the minimum wage is NOT to insure a "living wage" per se, but rather to limit the ability of enterproses to run on a business model of exploitatively low wages.  What conservatives claim, that minimum wage laws DO reduce to an extent employment opportunities is true, but that's because society has made a deliberate choice that the social detriments of permitting businesses to organize with such an exploitatively low wage scale outweigh any benefits any increase in size of their (very low wage) labor force would bring.  Nevertheless, it's also true that if that floor is set unsustainably high, many enterprises become unsustainable, and employment shrinks overall.

    Now as to CEOs making 400x, that's also an example of gross economic distortion made possible by upper-management gaining legal control over a bottleneck in the current economic system, rather than by the true economic value of their contribution to most enterprises.  Somehow Japanese corporations thrive equally well with CEO pay still extremely affluent, but an order of magnitude less than American companies.  What's needed are changes to the legal environment of corprorations to give greater incentive to give greater shares of benefits from productivity back to the workers; unions becoming major shareholder owners in companies would be an excellent start, which would create far more constructive incentives for both management and labor (and in fact blur the division between the two).

    •  Yeah, a sudden bump to $15 would (5+ / 0-)

      really kill many small business, restaurants, etc. These truly small businesses do not have 7-figure CEOs. And while an increase in the taxes they pay on their profits might not drive many (if any) out of business (which Republicans claim), an increase in their (pre-tax) expenses would wipe out all marginally surviving businesses that rely significantly on low-cost labor. It does NOT further the aims of progressives to actually cause more harm than good, so before any such increase actually happened, I'd hope we all got smarter on what people like Bob Greenstein and other liberal think tanks thought the ideal minimize wage hike is (that increases wages substantially as possible without costing too many jobs).

      •  The application of a living minimum wage should be (0+ / 0-)

        combined with both a reduced work week and subsidies for (actual) small businesses. I'd be okay with the federal government helping small businesses keep their workers until those businesses adjust to the new economic model.

        We should also start doing 20-30K grants, not loans, from the federal government to kickstart some new startups. Some of those businesses are going to fail, but the purchases they make will do a lot to stimulate aggregate demand.

        We also have a problem with presenteeism and an excessively long work week that can be addressed in combination with these wages.

        An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

        by OllieGarkey on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:23:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Where is this 20-30k sustainably coming from? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, Samulayo

          So every new restaurant in America gets a 20-30k grant from the federal government, the tax revenue for which to support it comes from...????  This is the sort of magical thinking is one of the relatively few places conservatives do have a valid point about.  Government has to carefully pick its spots for stimulus or subsidies, or else they become counterproductive drags and distortions (the military-industrial complex being a prime example of sustaining high-wage employment at a deeply counterproductive cost).

          BTW: a "reduced work week" is exactly the tactic many restaurant chains (and WalMart) are using to reduce costs, and they're being heavily criticized by progressives for doing so.

          •  No, the 20-30K grant is for new startups. (0+ / 0-)

            It's based on a german stimulus program.

            You don't give it to everyone, you give it to industries where you need growth. There'd be an application process demandinng that the applicant take some business management classes at a local college, and then the applicant would have to submit a business plan.

            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

            by OllieGarkey on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:40:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Also, a reduced work week is only acceptable if (0+ / 0-)

            we redefine full time/part time, while increasing wages to the point that the reduced work week doesn't hurt the workers.

            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

            by OllieGarkey on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:04:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  WOCC is targeting the big chains (0+ / 0-)

        WOCC wants to negotiate with the big chains, not put small mom and pop places out of business.

        "Don't believe everything you think."

        by BobboSphere on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:09:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  NO LAW is sudden. This is a complete myth. (0+ / 0-)

        Obamacare is being implemented relatively fast and it still is taking years.

        Any sort of wage increase that dramatic (rightfully dramatic) would in all likelihood be scaled in tiers, which is what nations have done before!

        Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

        by Nulwee on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:27:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If restaurants would go out of business if (4+ / 0-)

      they paid their waiters more than $2.13 an hour, they should go out of business.

    •  CEO compensation is mostly equity (0+ / 0-)

      While I too agree that CEO compensation is outrageous it is also important to remember that only a fraction of the compensation is in cash. Most of the compensation is in stock options, which do not cost the company any cash, ever. They are also a form of compensation that is realized three to ten years in the future and can be worth millions, but can also be worth nothing if the stock doesn't appreciate above the option price.  

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:43:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just noticed that this diary made the Rec List (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mentatmark, GoGoGoEverton

    Thanks!

    I hope this will help get out the message  these workers are trying to communicate. A low wage economy generates unnecessary human suffering and is a terrible waste of human lives and human potential.

    The huge corporations that WOCC is targeting can afford to raise the living standards of their employees, a move that will benefit an entire city, not just the recipients of the raise in pay.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 06:02:53 AM PST

  •  Can we have a $2 an hour part-time surcharge? (2+ / 0-)

    Haven't they used the part-time loop hole long enough?

  •  Must.change.trade.policy.too. (0+ / 0-)

    If jobs can still be offshored so easily, that's what a $15 min wage will do to lower-wage manufacturing. Service jobs would stay I guess...but there is a consistent meme with the countries that pay their workers a living wage, and it ain't 'bleed your home country dry and then move on.'

    The Mayans knew about Chained CPI!!!!

    by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:24:49 AM PST

  •  Today public street parking meter rates in Loop (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobboSphere

    went up from $5.75 to $6.50 per hour, now highest in the nation.  Sheezzus! It's a hellishly expensive area of Chicago to live or work in, and getting worse.

    "God bless us, every one!" ~ T. Tim

    by jwinIL14 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:50:17 AM PST

  •  I have to say, I do not object. ;-) (4+ / 0-)

    Outsourcing is also a huge problem. Employers are less competitive with wages when they know everybody's desperate to make any kind of cash they can get their hands on. The jobs we lost to outsourcing we the equalizers. Nobody's gonna take crap from a McD's manager for $8.00/hr when they can work at the car plant for 2 or 3xs the wage.

    But, this is a good angle as far as organizing goes. Higher wages is a political winner and it gets everyone's attention. Anything that can be done to raise awareness is great.

    If I make $15/hr, I can shop for more food, I can pay my bills on time, I can replace broken appliances and car carts faster, I can ride past a bakery and actually STOP and BUY STUFF. I can order more pay cable channels. I can eat at restaurants more often.

    All these things add up to enriching the economy and creating employment for other people. We can even choose to boycott companies that won't pay it's employees a livable wage (further down the road, of course) because rich people being cheap with wages aren't the job creators. It's the workers and consumers that buy their crap products.

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 07:52:20 AM PST

  •  If supply and demand isn't working, why not? (0+ / 0-)

    If the labor market were like any other market, raising the price would result in less labor being bought.

    Is there some sort of market failure going on, and if so what's causing it?

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