From picket sign to political reality

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Hundreds of fast food workers with Working Washington launched strikelines across Seattle in May 2013, calling for $15 an hour and the right to organize, and sparking a movement to strike poverty by raising wages. Through a year of intensifying of marches, boycotts, strikes, and other mobilizations, worker voices dominated the public debate, making income inequality and the minimum wage into the central public issues of the day. Almost exactly a year after the first fast food strikes, Seattle made history when City Council unanimously passed the first-ever citywide $15 minimum wage, and the mayor signed it into law.

But we’re not done yet. The low-wage workers’ movement sparked by the fast food strikes continues to spread across the region, driving public debate about poverty wages and the future of our economy.

While corporate profits are at all-time highs and the rich keep getting richer, seven of the ten fastest-growing jobs pay poverty wages. Workers are rising up across the state and across the country to take on the crisis of income inequality, uniting around the principle that everyone should be able to support themselves, afford the basics, and contribute to the economy. That’s good for workers, and it’s good for business too: after all, more people with more money means more customers for more businesses.

Income inequality is the moral and economic crisis of our time. Winning $15 for Seattle shows that we can change the narrative and build a better future for everyone -- and that’s exactly what we intend to do.