Nearly three years after the launch of “Fight for 15”, a campaign aimed at boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour, workers are enjoying some sweet success. The effort involves urging fast food workers in numerous cities around the country to take part in strikes and protests. In large cities like New York and San Francisco, the turnouts have been so huge that city and state officials are taking notice and changing public policy. For instance, Pittsburgh’s mayor, Bill Peduto, said city employees will receive at least $15 per hour by 2021, and the office of New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announced state workers will make a minimum of $15 per hour by 2018.
The “Fight for 15” campaign describes workers who receive less than $15 per hour as “a voting bloc that can no longer be ignored.” Leading candidates for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination are definitely paying attention. Both Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have addressed strikers directly and offered encouragement.
The Service Employees International Union, a 2-million-member labor union, funds the campaign, but its successes haven’t led to an increase in due-paying members who could sustain the cause’s support. Therefore, without an ongoing source of funds, the campaign can’t continue indefinitely. However, at least in the meantime, “Fight for 15” wields powerful political muscle and plans to expand its efforts.