Jobs With Justice March at Capitol Hill Calls for Higher Minimum Wage and Fair Scheduling
Organizers from Southern Oregon attending the Jobs With Justice National Conference in Washington, D.C., joined the justice march on Capitol Hill, where protesters called for fair scheduling and family wages for D.C.’s working poor.
More than 750 JWJ activists joined workers, students, faith leaders and community members on the cold Friday afternoon to support #JustHours and #1FairWage campaigns, demanding employers provide fair, transparent schedules with enough hours to make ends meet. Many district residents struggle to get enough hours – especially those working in retail, food service, and custodial jobs.
Organizers also occupied the lobby at 1101 New York Avenue, offices for DC Chamber of Commerce lawyer and former president Harry Wingo. They hoped to deliver a letter to the Chamber after a District judge ruled last month that residents can’t vote on a $15 minimum wage on November’s ballot. The letter was refused and occupiers were escorted out by DC police.
Last spring, a coalition of activist groups launched a campaign to get a measure on the ballot for a $15 minimum wage in the District. Last summer, the D.C. Board of Elections approved language for a ballot initiative, allowing activists to go out and gather the more than 20,000 signatures necessary to secure a vote.
But Harry Wingo, then the head of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, sued; he argued that the three-member board wasn’t “properly constituted.” A judge sided with Wingo, saying that the board wasn’t properly appointed and thus the initiative was improperly approved.
In 2013, the D.C. Council passed a law raising the minimum wage from $8.25 to $11.50 by 2016 through gradual year-by-year increases. After this year’s increase, the minimum wage will be indexed to inflation.
But under a proposed ballot initiative, the wage would continue rising, reaching $15 in 2020. The initiative would also raise the minimum for tipped workers to $15 by 2024.
The protest and rally were organized by Jobs with Justice and the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, a group that co-chairs the coalition DC for $15,
While groups has held protests in D.C. over the years, this is its first action of this size specifically supporting increasing the city’s minimum wage, according to ROC United spokesperson Eric Conrad.
Read the letter from ROC DC