WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), released the following statement today after the Census Bureau released data for 2015 showing median household income rose 5.2 percent, poverty rates fell by 1.3 percentage points, and the number of uninsured people dropped to a historic low.
“Middle class families saw the largest percentage income increase ever recorded in 2015. It is a clear result of a pro-worker agenda. The Fight for 15, the National Labor Relations Board’s focus on protecting workers’ rights, and the executive orders to combat wage theft and raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers all contributed to this milestone. The workplace champions who made this possible are an example to everyone that real change can come from the ground up.
“Despite these accomplishments, large income disparities remain, especially along racial lines. Organizers, activists, and elected officials must continue to advocate for a living wage and the right to organize for all workers. We have to strengthen worker protection agencies and close the gender pay gap, which continues to hurt women of all races and ethnicities. The federal government should set a high standard for American businesses by contracting with model employers, who pay their workers well and provide important benefits like paid sick leave and affordable health care. Let’s use this progress in 2015 to focus our energies to address challenges that working American families still face.”
In 2014, the CPC sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to sign a Model Executive Employer. Previously, the CPC sent a letter for a Good Jobs Executive Order. In 2014, CPC fought back against wage theft by sending a letter to Secretary Perez asking him to collect data on contractors that engage in wage theft. Additionally, the CPC introduced four appropriations amendments in 2014 to ensure federal contractors do not steal their workers’ wages. Moreover, CPC members have continuously fought to raise the minimum wage and expand overtime pay.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC introduced The People’s Budget which serves as its vision to address middle class wage stagnation through policies including comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, debt-free college, paid leave, pay equity and support for collective bargaining.