“I used to be a low wage worker making slave wages. We give 110% and we don’t get it back.”Rasheen Aldridge Jr., fast food worker and Fight for $15 organizer in St. Louis, MO
For those who do have a job, too many people of color are working day in and day out, sacrificing time with family, battling through health challenges, and withstanding poor work conditions, and still not seeing the full benefits of their hard work. Productivity is up; wages are not. People of color, particularly Black workers, frequently hold down two or more jobs. Many of these jobs are part-time without the benefits needed to support a family, like healthcare, paid leave, vacation, retirement savings plans, etc. Employers denying paid family and medical leave are particularly problematic because workers of color are more likely to need to take leave but cannot afford to do so.
Policies for consideration:
Increasing the federal minimum wage
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 and hasn’t increased since 2009. Estimates project that 40 million workers would benefit from an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024; nearly 40% of whom are people of color. This should be indexed to a self-sufficiency standard to keep up with the cost of living.
Paid sick days and paid family & medical leave
The government would provide workers not covered by their employers’ paid leave for sickness or caretaking. Workers could take up to 12 weeks to care for a child or family member under family and medical leave. Sick leave would cover seven days of pay for larger employers. Both proposals protect workers from the threat of losing their jobs as a result of taking leave.