15 NOW in Central Florida’s first public event

 

Members of 15 Now from Central Florida and Tampa, along with members of the Orange County and St. Pete. Green Parties, and the Tampa IWW rally outside of the Orange County Administration building after speaking with commissioners.
Members of 15 Now from Central Florida and Tampa, along with members of the Orange County and St. Pete. Green Parties, the Orlando Light Brigade and the Tampa IWW rally outside of the Orange County Administration building after speaking with commissioners.

 

 

15 NOW in Central Florida presented their case for a $15.00 minimum wage on September 23rd 2014, before the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. We spoke to the commissioners during the public commenting period about the need to raise the minimum wage in Florida. To view member speaking before the county commission Click Here.

After speaking we gathered outside with the rest of our group who had been out there the whole time with the Light Boards pictured above. We sign waved, handed out flyers, and spoke with all who would listen.

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We decided after an hour and a half or so to go and grab some lunch and meet up at Clear Channel Radio to do a letter drop and Light Brigade event.

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Initial endorsers of Central Florida 15 Now include Miguel Adams, Director, Speak Up Florida, Analise Alvarez, Melanie Alves, Benjamin Balak PhD, Associate Professor of Economics, Rollins College, Florida, Nelson Betancourt, Orange County Public Banking Initiative, Phyllis Hancock, President, A. Phillip Randolph Institute (Central Florida), Rich Hillwig, Orlando Light Brigade, Jim Howe, CWA local 3108, Diana Moore, President, Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, Victor Sanchez, President, Labor Coalition for Latin American Advancement (Central Florida), Louis Smith, CWA local 3108, Lorraine Tuliano, past President, Central Florida AFL-CIO, and Steve Wisniewski, President, CWA local 3108, and others.
15 NOW in Central Florida was initiated on September 3, 2014 at a meeting held at the Communications Workers of America, Local 3108 Union Hall. Steve Wisniewski, the President of Local 3108, said that “Local 3108 voted unanimously at our August meeting to endorse the national 15 NOW movement. We believe that, farmworkers, domestic workers, retail workers, communications workers, all workers, are entitled to a minimum wages that allows us to support ourselves and our families with dignity and pride, without relying of government assistance programs to put food on the table. A $15.00 per hour minimum wage is long overdue and a step in the right direction towards basic dignity for all working people.”
Phyllis Hancock, the President of the Central Florida Chapter of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, noted that “Labor productivity has risen by 135 percent since 1968. If the minimum wage had kept pace with labor productivity it would now be $25.00 per hour. Blacks, Latinos, and immigrants have suffered for far too long with wages that cannot support a person working 40 hours per week. All workers deserves fair compensation for our work. Blacks, Latinos, immigrants, and Whites must unite to demand a living wage for all. A $15.00per hour minimum wage will be a giant step towards the dignity and respect that all workers deserve.” She cited http://backtofullemployment.org/2013/06/21/economists-in-support-of-a-10-50-u-s-minimum-wage/ as a source for the labor productivity improvements since 1968.
Article X, Section 24(a) of the Constitution of the State of Florida states:
“PUBLIC POLICY. All working Floridians are entitled to be paid a minimum wage that is sufficient to provide a decent and healthy life for them and their families, that protects their employers from unfair low-wage competition, and that does not force them to rely on taxpayer-funded public services in order to avoid economic hardship.”
But according to the highly-regarded Living Wage Calculator for Florida issued by Poverty in America (not updated to latest data), the minimum living wage is $10.12, and for one adult raising a single child it is $20.68. Please note that public policy states that the minimum is to be “sufficient to provide a decent and healthy life for them and their families.”
Brook Hines, a small business owner and former director of the Community Business Association of Central Florida, added that “Orange County’s brand as a great place to live and work suffers every day we don’t address wage inequality. We can aspire to be like Seattle, or Detroit. We have the luxury at this point in time to choose, but every day we delay doing the right thing, the more the arc bends toward Detroit.”
Hines also commented on local economist, Sean Snaith’s recent statement at a forum on wage inequality “You might as well mandate a 6-figure income,” and Hines commented, “As if a modest increase for workers to keep up with the cost of living is laughable. You’d think that an economist would know that it costs $16.98 an hour to live in Florida if you’re single, and $30.43 if you’re a single parent with two children. This is no laughing matter for folks trying to make ends meet. An increase to $15 an hour — doubling Florida’s minimum wage — wouldn’t even cover the cost of living. It’s literally the very least we can do.”
Diana Moore, President of the Orange County Classrooms Teachers Associations, said “A $15.00 per hour minimum wage would dramatically improve the classroom learning environment for students whose families currently earn less than $15.00 per hour. Our children suffer when parents have to work two jobs to have a two bedroom apartment in this area. They should be able to earn a living wage.”

On background:

Minimum wage would be $10:80/hr. if it had kept pace with (official) inflation since 1968: http://socialworklicensemap.com/mcdonalds-budget/
These charts visualize the poverty wages of fast food workers, minimum wage and near minimum wage workers: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/fast-food-strike-minimum-wage
The Florida average wage is about $26,500… http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12000.html

Notice to Employees
Minimum Wage in Florida

The 2014 minimum wage in Florida is $7.93 per hour, effective January 1, 2014, with a minimum wage of at least $4.91 per hour for tipped employees, in addition to tips.

The minimum wage rate is recalculated yearly on September 30, based on the Consumer Price Index.

An employer may not retaliate against an employee for exercising his or her right to receive the minimum wage. Rights protected by the State Constitution include the right to:

1. File a complaint about an employer’s alleged noncompliance with lawful minimum wage requirements.
2. Inform any person about an employer’s alleged noncompliance with lawful minimum wage requirements.
3. Inform any person of his or her potential rights under Section 24, Article X of the State Constitution and to assist him or her in asserting such rights.

An employee who has not received the lawful minimum wage after notifying his or her employer and giving the employer 15 days to resolve any claims for unpaid wages may bring a civil action in a court of law against an employer to recover back wages plus damages and attorney’s fees.

An employer found liable for intentionally violating minimum wage requirements is subject to a fine of $1,000 per violation, payable to the state. The Attorney General or other official designated by the Legislature may bring a civil action to enforce the minimum wage.

For details, see Section 24, Article X of the State Constitution and Section 448.110, Florida Statutes.

The Job Gap provides information on a living wage in Florida and several other states: http://thejobgap.org/

The below section is from:

http://bud-meyers.blogspot.com/2012/05/tragic-aftermath-of-great-recession.html

It Illustrates a small indication of the meager conditions under which we labor:
Now think about this: The government defines the poverty level as $10,890 for a single person, or $ 22,350 for a family of four. And here is what most of us earn:
• 77.3 million earned less than $26,363 a year (the bottom 50% that pays little in federal income taxes)
• 55.8 million Received some form of Social Security benefits (retirees averaged $14,760 a year and those with disabilities averaged $13,332 a year). If no other income, they would be excluded from paying federal income taxes if they earned less than $25,000 a year (which is most).
• 12.5 million are unemployed, but of those, only 6.7 million currently qualified and receive unemployment benefits (average $15,340 a year)
• 7.9 million Americans were only working part time but wanted full-time work.
• 3.8 million Workers earned wages at or below the Federal minimum and made up 5.2 percent of all hourly-paid workers. (A full-time minimum wage job pays $15,080 a year).
• 6 million college and high school grads have no work history at all, and also aren’t being counted in the unemployment rate — and aren’t receiving UI benefits (but they could be living on food stamps and in debt with student loans).
• 636,017 were homeless last year.
• 1.4 million Americans are employed at Wal-Mart in the U.S. (average wage is slightly above $8 an hour).
• 750,000+ Americans work for McDonalds in the U.S. (average wage is slightly above $8 an hour). Like every year, McDonald’s and its franchisees hired 62,000 people for temporary summer jobs in the U.S. last year after receiving more than one million applications from desperate job seekers.
• 6 million people are under correctional supervision (jail, prison, etc.) in the U.S. — more than were in Stalin’s gulags.
• 50,000 are in mental institutions. Sixty years ago, the United States had 322 state psychiatric hospitals that cared for more than 500,000 patients at any given time. In the most recent figures compiled by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute, from 2009, the states operated 208 hospitals that cared for fewer than 50,000 patients.)
100,152 died from suicide over the last three years, in part because of record long-term unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. The suicide rate has gone up, and calls to the suicide hotline has increased by 33%. The annual rate is 10.7 per 100,000 nationally and 34.5 in Las Vegas. In a study conducted by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it found that in 2008-2009, some 8.3 million U.S. adults had suicidal thoughts in the previous year. About 2.2 million people reported making suicide plans in the last year. One million reported an actual suicide attempt in the last 12 months.
Minimum wage would be $10:80/hr. if it had kept pace with (official) inflation since 1968: http://socialworklicensemap.com/mcdonalds-budget/
These charts visualize the poverty wages of fast food workers, minimum wage and near minimum wage workers: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/fast-food-strike-minimum-wage

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