Seattle Organizers Taking $15 Minimum Wage Battle to the Ballot
NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY

Seattle Organizers Taking $15 Minimum Wage Battle to the Ballot


Glen Ford talks about the recent "Fight For 15" conference in Seattle and says most voters there want a $15 minimum wage hike -   April 28, 2014
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support The Real News Network because it is not entertainment...it is real news. - David Pear
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

Bio

Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.

Transcript

Seattle Organizers Taking $15 Minimum Wage Battle to the BallotJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Ford Report.

Now joining us is Glen Ford. He is the cofounder and executive editor of the Black Agenda Report.

Thanks for joining us, Glen.

GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Oh, thank you for the invitation.

DESVARIEUX: So, Glen, you were at the 15 now conference in Seattle because over there in Seattle they're fighting for a $15 minimum wage. Can you just get us up to speed? Who were the principal organizers, and what kind of workers were in attendance?

FORD: Well, as you know, the $15 an hour minimum wage demand has been out there for a little while. It was raised by fast food workers all across the country. But the focus of that demand is now Seattle because the socialist party, Socialist Alternative, their candidate, Kshama Sawant, won the city council seat there last year on the strength of that demand. And so Socialist Alternative basically has gathered all of its forces. It's a small party, but it's numbers doubled since the victory in Seattle to bring together people to decide how you actually go about implementing the $15 minimum wage.

And it's really more complicated than people think. They've decided that because so many folks in Seattle who wouldn't usually support such a minimum wage, certainly one not that large, now say that they do. They are going to try to raise 50,000 signatures to put the issue on the ballot, so that the city council doesn't water down the bill. Virtually every member of the Seattle City Council and the mayor claim that they support the $15 an hour minimum wage. The problem is, some folks want to bundle all kinds of benefits into the $15 wage. People want to keep tips out of the equation. Big business has created an astroturf organization called Seattle /wʌn/ that really run fronts for big businesses' interests but has been able to field picketers who do come from some unions.

There is some union, if not opposition to the $15 an hour proposal, that have questions about how it affects their contracts. For example, UNITE HERE--that's the restaurant workers union--already has a contract in which, as they tell it--and they came and spoke at the conference--they bargained with their employers over the common pile of money, and then the workers decide how much of it goes to benefits and how much goes to salaries. And they're worried about the integrity of their contract. So Socialist Alternative is finding that actually the actual details and nuts and bolts of this $15 an hour proposal are rather complex.

DESVARIEUX: So what was your message for the conference?

FORD: Oh, my message is, of course, right on. You know, I don't know how helpful I was at that conference. They wanted me to be there. I tried to provide a broader perspective on what this fight in this corner of the United States in Seattle has to do with the whole neoliberal capitalist project in the world and to give it some perspective that went.

DESVARIEUX: Let's turn to a recent poll of Seattle voters by DHM research in Portland, Oregon. It showed that support for a phased-in $15 an hour minimum wage dropped from 68 percent in January to 45 percent in April. Did you get a sense from the conference as to why there was such a huge drop in support, Glen?

FORD: Oh, it's quite clear why. In the initial poll, the question was asked just in simple terms of would you favor a $15 an hour minimum wage. In the next surveys, they phrased the question this way: would you favor socialist city councilwoman Kshama Sawant's proposal for a $15 an hour minimum wage? And once you put the word socialist into the question, it lost about 20 points.

DESVARIEUX: Okay, yeah, that S word, you know, us Americans, we cannot handle.

Let's turn. And I want to ask you, Glen, about those who say that this $15 minimum wage will alienate the political forces that are already willing to accept the Democrats' $10.10 minimum wage bill. So I'm going to present the counterargument here. Shouldn't workers be asking for incremental gains, like a $10 hourly wage from $7, instead of doubling, you know, the federal wage and asking for $15? What's your take?

FORD: Well, as the organizers point out, if we were talking about keeping the minimum wage up with inflation, the minimum wage compared to what was in the '60s would now be about $15 an hour. You can't live--and every worker will tell you--in an expensive city like Seattle for less than $15 an hour. And the workers aren't put off by the prospect of such a big increase. What scares them and what Seattle /wʌn/--that's the front group for Amazon and Starbucks and other big businesses--what scares them is the propaganda that any increase in the minimum wage automatically leads to people losing their jobs, that is, to layoffs. That does scare people and the big business propagandists are /ˈpænɪŋ/ that for all they're worth.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. Glen Ford, executive editor of Black Agenda Report, thank you so much for joining us.

FORD: Thank you.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

Comments


Latest Stories


MD Senate Restores Ex-Felon's Right to Vote
Days of Revolt: Company Town
The Wilting UK Economy
The Real News Tries to Attend Dixon Fundraiser
Sanders: Revolution Needed from Below
Hollywood Glorifies Bankers, Ignores Unsung Whistleblowers
Did Hillary Lie About Her Iraq War Vote?
Evolution of A Black Panther (1/2)
If Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman Were Heroic So Are Political Prisoners
Corporate Media Endorses Clinton to Defend Their Own Interests
MD Delegate Wants to End the War on Drugs
The Empire Files: A Hidden War - The Empire's Border Part II
Grayson Holds Back Democratic Nominee Endorsement
Adnan Syed Presents New Evidence in Court, Seeks New Trial
Michigan Governor's Office Knew of Flint Water Poisoning in March
UK Rejects UN Ruling that Assange Detention Is Illegal
Did Hillary Lie About Her Iraq War Vote?
After TPP Signing, Activists Opposed to Deal Look to Prevent Congressional Approval
Did Financial Giant Goldman Sachs Just Admit the System is Rigged?
Black Lives Matter Protestor Runs for Mayor of Baltimore
UAW Suppresses Local Union's Vote to Support BDS
At Mosque, Obama Confronts Islamophobia but Ignores Role of US Foreign Policy
Sanders vs. Clinton on Wall St. Reform
Could Sanders Deliver on Medicare for All?
NYT Endorsement of Hillary Not Surprising Since It Buried Bernie's Presidential Bid
Taking the Black Struggle to the United Nations
Can Baltimore's Mayoral Race Lead to Serious Change in Public Policy?
Baltimore Residents to Challenge Tax Breaks for Developers
Tony Kushner: Hollywood and Socialism
Is Clinton "A Progressive Who Gets Stuff Done"?

RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting