WASHINGTON – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with CPC Members Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Mike Honda (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Janice Hahn (D-CA), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) stand with low-wage workers across the country who will go on strike tomorrow to stand up for higher wages and the right to collectively bargain.

“The Fight for $15 isn’t about a number – it’s about the dignity of a livable wage and the rights of workers to stand together against unfair employment practices,” said Rep. Grijalva. “As workers from across the country continue to rise against unfair – and immoral – treatment, we must recognize that every American forced to accept less than their worth for labor is an American who cannot contribute fully to our economy. We must restore this nation’s role as a land of unbridled opportunity, and that starts by ensuring everyone willing to work full time earns enough to get by.”

“Too many working Americans leave work every night wondering how they’ll make it through the end of the month,” Rep. Ellison said. “But a movement made up of workers from every community in America is growing and today’s nationwide action shows the power of people standing up together. Their demand—$15 and the right to organize—isn’t too much to ask from corporations booking huge profits. I’m proud to stand with the thousands of workers hitting the streets tomorrow and I join them in their demand for dignity on the job.”

“Too many hardworking low-wage workers don’t make enough to keep their families out of poverty,” Rep. Pocan said. “That’s why I’m proud to stand with them in the fight for a living wage and the right to organize. Growing their paychecks will help grow our economy and help working families make ends meet.  No one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.” 

“Everyone deserves the dignity of a living wage. Simply put, the minimum wage keeps families in poverty. I stand with low-wage workers, in the East Bay and across the country, who are raising their voices for economic justice,” Rep. Lee said. “The Fight for $15 movement is built upon the principle of basic fairness. It’s unconscionable that our country continues to subsidize billion-dollar corporations that pay their workers poverty wages. We need economic fairness and greater opportunity so families can lift themselves out of poverty.”

“The single biggest economic issue facing America today is that jobs do not pay enough to live on,” Rep. DeLauro said. “Our middle class is shrinking and our economy is suffering because of it. Working families are struggling to pay their rent, put food on the table and get out of debt. We need to treat workers with the respect they deserve by raising their wages. Doing so is not just the right thing to do, but it is good for businesses and taxpayers. It results in lower turnover and higher productivity, and saves taxpayers money because fewer workers have to rely on government assistance. It is long past time to ensure that workers have decent wages and the right to collectively bargain. We must get this done.”

“When a growing number of workers are paid so little, it slows down the economy for everybody,” Rep. Jackson Lee said. “When workers cannot afford basics -- like groceries, rent, or transportation -- that reduces their purchasing power in their neighborhoods. Higher pay will put more purchasing power into the hands of workers, so they can put more money back into their community, boost the economy, and create more good jobs.”

“All workers deserve a living wage.  I stand with all American workers in their efforts to obtain reasonable pay and the right of workers to organize," Rep. Honda said.  “No one who works full time should be living in poverty.”

“Today, stagnant wages mean that jobs are frequently a tether to poverty instead of a path out of it. And without the right to unionize and negotiate for better pay, an increasing number of full time workers are forced to rely on public assistance,” Rep. Chu said. “As workers all around the nation come together today, we can make positive changes for the millions of hard working employees in industries such as food service and retail. Our workers deserve a wage that helps them stand on their own two feet to support their families; to put food on the table and kids through college. I am proud to join them in their fight for the fifteen!”

“I support local and national efforts by working families and their allies to increase wages and gain bargaining rights," Rep. Hahn said. “Many food workers are women and men raising families, and despite working hard and putting in full-time hours they live in poverty.  When highly profitable companies don’t pay their employees enough to survive without public assistance – yet reward their stockholders and CEOs – taxpayers foot the bill. We should publicize the examples of successful business leaders who value and invest in their workers, pay good wages, provide good benefits.  These innovative entrepreneurs are proving that businesses can profit not despite treating workers well but in fact because they treat their workers well.”

“Millions of Americans have watched corporate profits skyrocket and prices for even basic essentials like food jump while their wages have stagnated,” Rep. Watson Coleman said. “Low-wage workers face the worst of this, often trying to scrape together 40-hour weeks, but still making so little money that they need SNAP benefits and other government assistance to make ends meet. It is unacceptable, immoral, and almost criminal that in the wealthiest nation on earth, anyone willing to work full time would be forced to live in poverty. I stand with workers demanding fair and livable wages and the right to organize, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to start listening.”

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