Darci E. McConnell and Beau Boughamer, and, 313-686-8094 and 202-765-9143

Issued August 25, 2015

Workers share wage woes with Labor Sec. Perez

DETROIT— Fred Green’s current situation?

“I’m living place to place because my pay is not enough to manage a place of my own,” said Green, who has worked at a Speedway gas station in Detroit for the last four years and who earns $8.15 an hour. “My Fight for $15 (an hour) is for peace of mind and hopefully to be able to afford a place of my own.”

Green, 42, was among dozens of workers Tuesday who shared their struggle to make ends meet on a minimum wage salary with Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. The roundtable discussion, which took place at Central United Methodist Church in Detroit, included retail, fast-food, home care and child care workers. Perez was joined by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and SEIU Healthcare Michigan President Marge Robinson.

Perez met with Fight for $15 workers to hear their stories and to highlight their efforts, in Detroit and across the country, to come together and raise their voices for better wages and working conditions. Perez and the Obama administration have repeatedly called for a higher national minimum wage, and have expressed an unwavering belief that our nation is stronger when more people have a voice in the workplace.

The Fight for $15 movement began with fast-food workers but has spread to more than 250 cities and to multiple industries such as healthcare and higher education.

Alicia Robertson has to rely on public assistance to supplement the $8.25 an hour she earns at Dollar Tree and to take care of her three children. “I can’t afford to provide food on my hourly wages,” she said.

Perez also heard from workers who said they have been empowered by being involved with the D15 campaign (Detroit’s local campaign for $15 and a union). “I’m fighting not only for better wages,” said Terry Tarrant, a McDonald’s worker, “but because fast-food workers deserve a voice and to be heard.”

Seattle, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., recently raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour.