Tag: Fight for $15

When low wages lead to jail and death

Author Andy Fontaine, a fellow fast food worker and Fight for $15 member wrote an OpEd piece for USA Today a couple of weeks ago about his friend and co-worker Jeffrey Pendleton. Pendleton was found dead in a jail cell five days after his arrest on a misdemeanor marijuana possession. He was in jail due to his inability to pay the $100 bail.

The candidates may have moved on to other states, but I’d ask them to remember Jeffrey Pendleton. I’d ask them to remember what he — and all of us — are fighting for. We aren’t just fighting for $15 an hour. Sometimes we are fighting for our lives.

The massive Fight for $15 demonstrations held across the country and around the world on April 14 were dedicated to Jeffrey Pendleton’s memory.
Photo below is from Liberation News.

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VIDEO: Kendall Fells at the JSMI Black Lives Matter / Fight for $15 Forum

Kendall Fells, the Organizing Director of Fast Food Forward- SEIU/Fight4$15, speaks at the BLACK LIVES MATTER/FIGHT FOR $15: A NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENT forum. This panel was hosted at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute on October 19, 2015.

Listen to Mr. Fells describe the context from which the Fight for $15 grew, the beginnings of the Fight for $15, the concrete involvement of Black Lives Matter with the Fight for $15, and steps he sees moving forward.

Comparing New York and California’s Wage Increases

What are the differences between New York and California’s recent legislative moves that increase the minimum wage in those states?
New York’s takes a lot more bullet points to explain.


The California Fair Wage Act of 2016

Calls for an increase in minimum wage of $1 per hour every January 1 until it reaches $15 per hour in 2021. It will be indexed to inflation after hitting $15. Does not have a tip credit so minimum wage will impact tipped workers as well.

Exceptions and potential delays

  • The governor may impose a delay during an economic recession
  • Businesses with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply


New York Plan

Treats parts of New York state differently, with upstate not even reaching a $15 minimum wage until sometime after 2020. Includes a tip credit, which means that tipped workers do not have to be paid this minimum wage. And unlike California, New York is not indexed to inflation after reaching the $15 minimum.

In New York City

  • Employers with 11 or more workers: $11.00 per hour on and after December 31, 2016; $2 increase per year ($15 by December 31, 2018)
  • Employers with less than 11 workers: $10.50 end of 2016; $1.50 increase per year after ($15 by December 31, 2019)

In Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties

  • Increase to $10 at the end of 2016 and then increase by $1 at the end of each year of the next five years, reaching $15 on December 31, 2021

The rest of the state

  • Increase to $9.70 at the end of 2016; increase by $0.70 at the end of each of the next four years, reaching $12.50 on December 31, 2020
  • After 2020, the rate will increase to $15 on an indexed schedule to be set by the Director of the Division of Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor

Potential delays

  • Will be formally reviewed and studied in 2019
  • The state can suspend scheduled increases “if economic conditions warrant it”