15 Now PDX began its work in February 2014, and for some time was going at it alone in the fight for a $15 minimum wage in Oregon. Being concentrated in the Portland area necessarily meant that the campaign had a local focus, and that fact made it easy for Portland’s city council and Big Business entities such as the Portland Business Alliance to brush the thought of us aside little comment due to the fact that a state preemption law prevents municipalities within Oregon from raising the minimum wage for all workers in their jurisdiction. However, facts on the ground are beginning to change.
As the Fight for $15 in Portland and the rest of the U.S. continues to build and gain momentum in the wake of Seattle’s victory, a number of new 15 Now chapters are popping up and forming all over the State of Oregon. Nascent chapters now exist and are beginning to build and take action from Beaverton to The Dalles, to Salem, Eugene, and Medford.
Inflation in Oregon has doubled that of the national rate in recent years while employment and income gains for the working class remain stagnant. In addition, recent studies by both the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Alliance for a Just Society show that a living wage for workers in the State of Oregon is around $16/hr. As 15 Now continues to build and spread throughout Oregon, and our state legislature prepares to try and raise the state’s minimum wage during the 2015 legislative session, they will not be able to ignore these facts, nor will they be able to ignore the groundswell of grassroots, working class support for a $15/hr minimum wage in Oregon!
But we need your help to make $15 a reality for Oregon! Can you volunteer to Fight for $15 in Oregon? Click here to contact us about joining or starting a local chapter in your city. Can you make a monetary contribution to help us fight the big money that big business is going to spend to stop the working class from getting its fair share? Click here to donate to our current fundraising drive or you can click here to make a monthly donation!
Written by Justin Norton-Kertson, 15 Now PDX cofounder and steering committee member.