Photo of the Month: November 2015

This month's photo captures the working class protests to increase minimum wage across the country.

Last week, Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the Aspen Institute's Summit on Inequality and Opportunity about how reducing inequality benefits the entire nation and made the case for raising the minimum wage:

Think of every single solitary program that affects and benefits the poor and those in need. It's there because it's sustained by the support of the middle class. That's how it's sustained. Look, the nation works best when it works for the middle class because when the middle class does well, folks above them do very, very well, and the poor have a ladder. And the one thing you can't deny an American or anyone is hope. You deny them hope and you rob them of something very, very valuable. And so as I look at this, it seems to me that there are certain things that we can do that can begin to change the dynamic here. We've done it before and is totally within our wheelhouse. If you give people a fair shot and give 'em a chance to fulfill their potential, I can't think of any time in American history they've ever let the country down. I can't think of a time that's occurred. And so we can start for example by raising the minimum wage. It's not going to solve all problems. But if we raise the minimum wage across country to $12 an hour that would raise wages for 35 million people in America, millions of whom are living on the edge right now.  

[…]I know business communities always howl at how many jobs this will cost. But folks the facts don't back up their assertions. and for me this is simple — if someone is working 40 hours a week, they shouldn't be living in poverty in this country.  

Thousands of low-wage workers have been supporting the activist group Fight for $15 which has staged a national walkout this month.  While Fight for $15 consists primarily of fast food workers, they are recently joined by workers from various industries, calling to raise the minimum wage and seeking the right to unionize.  The business community has been pushing back against the move for fear that it could seriously impediment a company's growth. One CEO does beg to differ though. Chicken-chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen's CEO Cheryl Bachelder believes "life will go on": 

Everybody in retail is dealing with an increase in minimum wage. We will adjust to increased costs just like we have before. Life will go on. There's been too much hubbub about it.

 


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