L.A. workers rally for wage justice Hundreds of union workers, members of SEIU Local 1000, showed up in full force in downtown Los Angeles last Thursday. The union is demanding that California end pay disparities that impact women and Black and Brown employees and ensure every state employee makes a living wage. According to a 2023 study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, more than 68 percent of state employees represented by SEIU Local 1000 earn wages so low that they can’t afford to support a family of two in California. Quad-chair Rose Gudiel Escobar, a state worker and member of SEIU 1000 (pictured above with her daughter), offered a personal take on low wages: “These conditions have made it very hard to provide for my family. My daughter is needing braces and I need to make decisions regarding what basic needs can I reduce or do without in order to provide her the dental work she needs.” Learn more about the rally on the SEIU website.
Almost 200 arrested at the Housing Is a Human Right rally near LAX At a separate event last Thursday, about 500 community members joined a rally and sit-in in support of hospitality workers. The demonstration blocked traffic near LAX for several hours and led to 190 arrests, including several LA PPC activists and two Los Angeles City Councilmembers. The workers, represented by UNITE HERE! Local 11, are demanding an immediate $5 an hour wage increase to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing. Other demands: affordable family healthcare, pensions that enable workers to retire with security and a safe and humane workload. Negotiations began on April 20, but the hotel industry has yet to respond with any wage proposals. “I voted yes to strike because I commute two hours from my home in Apple Valley to downtown Los Angeles,” said Brenda Mendoza, a uniform attendant at the JW Marriott LA Live. “I deserve to make enough money to live near where I work.” “Hotel workers who work in the booming Los Angeles tourism industry must be able to live in Los Angeles,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “The industry shamelessly exploited the pandemic and is now reaping greater profits than ever before. Yet workers cannot afford to pay the rent. This 96 percent vote to authorize a strike sends a clear message to the industry that workers have reached their limit and are prepared to strike to secure a living wage.”
Workers shut down a McDonald’s in Oakland demanding sick leave restoration Last Friday, more than 40 workers at the McDonald’s near Lake Merritt in Oakland walked off the job and shut down the restaurant, demanding that the new franchise owner restore their earned sick leave hours. “We were never given notice that the location would be sold,“ a striking worker stated. “Across multiple stores in Oakland, we’re on strike to demand our paid sick leave is returned, hours reinstated and staff increased.” With chants calling for “¡Justicia ahora!” participants decorated the site with colorful posters and painted a street mural in the parking lot. Having recently returned from the Moral Congress in Washington D.C., where Mariel Garcia of Fight for $15 LA repped low wage workers at a meeting with White House officials, Nell Myhand (Bay Area region) joined the action. “The idea that the new owner could erase the hours of sick leave pay [that] the workers had earned echoes the research and testimonies from Congress about the policy violence that increases suffering and steals the lives of poor people,” she said. “These workers are refusing to be silent.” Nell also cited a newly released factsheet about poverty in our state. “The absence of a wage for the caregiving work means these no/low wage workers live without the resources needed for their families to thrive. From the new California Fact sheet, we know that 3.4 million people in California—18 percent of waged workers—earn less than $15 an hour. A living wage is at least $30. They don’t have justice.” You can read more about the strike on Medium, and we encourage you to check out the 2023 California factsheet. Upcoming meetings Los Angeles regional meetingSunday July 9, 3pm | RSVP LA PPC activists: join us to hear about the Moral Poverty Action Congress and what we’ll be doing to bring the message home to LA. We’ll also catch up on local actions to support low and no-wage workers. Invite a friend – all are welcome. Third Reconstruction Agenda / Close the Wealth Gap, CA! planningWednesdays 6:30pm | RSVP Join our Close the Wealth Gap, California! initiative and help build momentum for the Third Reconstruction Agenda to Heal the Nation. Drop by online any Wednesday to find out how you can be involved. Support the California PPC! When over 140 million Americans are poor or living with low-wages, it’s time for systemic change. We are building a movement led by poor and impacted folks, building across all lines of division, in order to topple the interlocking pillars of racism, poverty, militarism, environmental destruction and this country’s distorted moral narrative. Please help us achieve this goal by clicking below and chipping in whatever you can.
The PPC meets with senior White House leaders in D.C. A team of senior White House officials met with PPC leaders and allies while they were in Washington for the Moral Poverty Action Congress. White House reps included Steve Benjamin, Director of the Office of Public Engagement; Neera Tanden, Domestic Policy Advisor; and Mitch Landrieu, Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. Bishop Barber; Rev. Theoharis; Mary Kay Henry, SEIU International President; Mariel Garcia of Fight for $15 LA and several others made the case for a major effort to wipe out poverty. Here’s a recap issued by the White House. “Lifting every American family out of poverty is a key priority at the heart of the POTUS’ Investing in America agenda,” said Landrieu. “Meeting with Bishop Barber and this courageous group at the White House was a reminder of how important our work is.” PPC in the media “Reverend William Barber gives the Poor People’s Campaign a second wind” Reporting on the Moral Poverty Action Congress, the Village Voice described recent PPC movement building, plus studies that show poverty is the fourth highest cause of death in the US. The article also summarized the goals of the Moral Poverty Action Congress: “to inform, train and energize a new generation of advocates dedicated to improving the lives of those among us who are poor and ignored.” Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, you are welcome to reply to this newsletter or email email@example.com.