Members of the Fair Shot Coalition and the Western Region Summer Institute for Union Women joined together at Reed College for an international gathering of advocates calling for a raise to the minimum wage for all working women. Union sisters from Canada and across the United States were present along with speakers Barbara Byrd, Secretary-Treasurer of AFL-CIO and Ed Hall, Labor Liaison with the Office of Senator Jeff Merkley.
No Oregonian should ever work a full-time job and still struggle to make ends meet. Yet currently one in four Oregon workers brings home less than $25,000 each year—not nearly enough to afford housing, food, gas and other necessities for a family.
Women and people of color make up the largest percentage of our low-wage workforce. Nationally, the average minimum wage worker is most likely to be a 35-year-old woman—often a mother with a family relying solely on her wages. In Oregon, women represent more than half of minimum wage workers while people of color make up about 36 percent. Latinos, Native Americans, and African Americans are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty, and single working mothers are more likely to live in poverty than single working fathers.
Raising the minimum wage is at the center of the economic debate happening both in Oregon, throughout our local communities and on a national stage. Together, we are mobilizing Oregonians and giving a voice to those who need a fair shot.