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Raising the Bar for Workers and Families

Raising the Minimum Wage, Passing Earned Sick Days, and Paid Family Leave 

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) has been on the front lines of the national movement to raise wages and guarantee earned sick days and paid family leave for workers. The work of our collective movement, comprised of unions and grassroots partners, has led to raises for 11.8 million workers. Close to four million people now have earned sick days as a result of our advocacy. These unprecedented gains are not only emblematic of the movement we have built, but also call...

Raising the Minimum Wage, Passing Earned Sick Days, and Paid Family Leave 

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) has been on the front lines of the national movement to raise wages and guarantee earned sick days and paid family leave for workers. The work of our collective movement, comprised of unions and grassroots partners, has led to raises for 11.8 million workers. Close to four million people now have earned sick days as a result of our advocacy. These unprecedented gains are not only emblematic of the movement we have built, but also call on us to integrate these popular economic issues into a broader and bolder agenda for progressive change. 

Raising the Minimum Wage

Angie Ruiz, a youth leader from Make the Road New Jersey, captures the call to action best when she says that “As an oldest child, I have seen how my parents–despite working three jobs between the two of them–struggle to make ends meet. They work hard, but with the rising cost of living in New Jersey, their hard-earned wages just aren’t enough for groceries, braces, to support my aging grandparents or to help me visit colleges on the weekend…. So two years ago, at age 15, I started to work, so I can help my family survive.” 

Because of Angie and thousands of others organizing, New Jersey is now one of the most recent states to pass legislation phasing in a $15 minimum wage. 

On November 29, 2012, a group of fast food workers in New York walked off their jobs to demand $15 an hour and the right to join a union. Our affiliate, New York Communities for Change, helped support this movement, which has since helped 22 million low wage workers throughout the country win $68 billion in raises to date. 

There are 21 states whose minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 per hour for 10 years, leaving 56 million workers severely underpaid. Without definitive federal intervention, workers in these states will continue to live with major wage disparities and deep inequities. 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Raise the Wage Act in 2019. A total of 231 members of Congress voted in on-un of this powerful bill, including three Republicans, while 199 members opposed it. 

Earned Sick Days

Every worker has at some point been confronted by the impossible dilemma of staying home or going to work with a fever, or getting a call at work that their child is sick at daycare and needs to be picked up immediately, or having to miss work because of medical treatments like chemotherapy. Earned sick days honor these impossible choices and allow for workers to take a paid day off when they need to.

Paid Family Leave 

Eighty-four percent of U.S. voters support a national paid family and medical leave policy that covers all working people to care for a new child or a seriously ill, injured, or disabled loved one, or to manage their own health issues. Despite this considerable support, only 17 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have access to personal medical leave through employer-provided, short-term disability insurance.

Paid family leave allows workers to draw a portion of their pay while they take time from work to 

  • Address a serious health condition (including pregnancy)

  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition

  • Address family circumstances arising from a military service member’s deployment

  • Care for a newborn, newly-adopted child, or newly-placed foster child

Campaign Blog

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New Jersey Passes Historic $15 Minimum Wage Increase

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News

Two years ago, Target (TGT) said it would raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by the end of...

10/14/2019 | CNN

The idea that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work is probably among the least...

04/26/2017 | Mic

This year was supposed to be a good one for America’s workers. After all, nearly 12 million...

02/8/2017 | Alternet

As a muted telenovela played on a T.V. overhead, Jorge Roldan inched toward the microphone in a...

11/15/2016 | City Limits

Voters have decided it’s time to give Colorado’s minimum-wage workers a long-overdue raise....

11/9/2016 | The Colorado Independent

For some corporations and advocacy groups, Colorado's jam-packed ballot has meant opportunity....

11/6/2016 | The Coloradoan

Homestretch: The fight to raise Colorado’s minimum wage

Voters at polling centers across...

11/6/2016 | The Colorado Independent

More than $3 million in contributions aided the slate of statewide initiatives in the final...

11/1/2016 | The Colorado Independent

This is the third post in a series about ballot measures to raise the minimum wage in Colorado...

10/31/2016 | Forbes