SEIU members and worker leaders in the Fight for $15 and a Union celebrated as House and Senate leaders announced the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, a reintroduction of the $15 federal minimum wage bill. Kansas City McDonald’s worker Fran Marion joined Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and other lawmakers for a press conference where she shared why $15 an hour should become the law of the land.
“Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will change my life and let me tell my kids I can give them a better life than mine,” said Marion, who was with other Fight for $15 leaders when the House passed a similar bill in 2019. “I’m thrilled that leaders in Congress are reintroducing the Raise the Wage Act, which will give tens of millions of working families like mine the raise we so desperately need. Essential workers have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and we can’t wait for help any longer."
SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry called the Raise the Wage Act “a huge step forward in deciding to end poverty work in America.”
“The impact COVID-19 has had on working people has made it crystal clear that our economy is broken for the millions of people who can’t afford to provide for their families. That is most true for the Black and brown essential workers who have kept us safe and fed throughout this health crisis,” said Henry. “In order to truly recover from COVID-19 we need to pass the Raise the Wage Act. “
Sepia Coleman, a home care worker for over 30 years who makes just $11 an hour, represents the fight workers have across other industries, especially in long-term care, to get $15.
“Reintroducing the Raise the Wage Act is a clear sign that congressional leaders hear us loud and clear: A $15 minimum wage is the absolute minimum we need to get by” said Coleman. “For essential workers, Black women like myself, communities of color, and everyone struggling right now, we must have a decent wage. $15 is a critical step toward helping our country recover from the pandemic and making our economy work for everyone.”
The Raise the Wage Act of 2021 addresses the demand tens of millions of workers who are still paid below $15 an hour are making for higher pay, creates a clear path for economic recovery for Black and brown workers who face the brunt of the pandemic, and confronts a nationwide reckoning over systemic anti-Black racism.