The Labor Coalition sent the following questions to all of the City Commission candidates in the upcoming March 15, 2016 election. Below are the responses that we received from Mayoral candidate Lauren Poe. Please be sure to get involved in this important City election!
Do you support updating the current City of Gainesville Living Wage Ordinance so that it:
Closes the current loopholes that allow contractors to pay their employees below a living wage?Yes. I will work to implement a policy that ensures that all city employees earn a living wage and all businesses with which the City of Gainesville contracts pay a living wage.
Applies to all city workers – both part-time and full-time?Yes. A living wage is only such if it applies to all people who work for the city.
Increases the current rate to 125% of the Federal Poverty Level (currently $14.57/hour)?
Yes, but this should only be seen as a start. The living wage for a single parent with one child is over $22/hr., and children are our largest group in poverty. Our goal should be to pay all people a living wage, one in which they are able to support their families, not just themselves.
Do you support the Alachua County Labor Coalition’s campaign asking the 10 largest employers in Alachua County to pay a living wage of 125% of the Federal Poverty Level by 2020?
Yes, and I will use the office of mayor to promote the community benefits of doing such.
The Labor Coalition sent the following questions to all of the City Commission candidates in the upcoming March 15, 2016 election. Below are the responses that we received from City Commission District 4 candidate Adrian Hayes-Santos. Please be sure to get involved in this important City election!
Do you support updating the current City of Gainesville Living Wage Ordinance so that it:
Closes the current loopholes that allow contractors to pay their employees below a living wage?
Yes, I think that city contractors should pay a living wage to their employees. I’m running for Gainesville City Commission District 4 to protect our neighborhoods, promote an economically vibrant downtown, and preserve our natural environment. We set an example for the region, state, and nation in our community with our world-class higher education system, arts, culture, parks and green-spaces. These world-class amenities exist thanks to the hard work of our city employees and contractors. That’s why I believe it is essential that we invest in our workers and should make sure our contractors pay a living wage to their employees. As a city, we should be setting an example for a living wage, not creating loopholes and exemptions for select categories of businesses.
b. Applies to all city workers – both part-time and full-time?
Yes, all city workers should be paid a living wage. We’ve already seen Alachua County Board of County Commissioners and the University of Florida begin steps towards ensuring no one makes under $12/hour thanks in large part to the awareness and advocacy efforts of the Alachua County Labor Coalition. I believe the City of Gainesville needs to join two of its key partners in making sure all city workers are paid a living wage.
c. Increases the current rate to 125% of the Federal Poverty Level (currently $14.57/hour)?
Yes, this is one way that we can help alleviate the growing income inequality gap at the local level. Our policies need to reflect the current economic environment, not one from days long past. Implementation of those policies needs to be done in a way that gives our businesses time to adjust, but doesn’t give them so long that our residents suffer. I support increasing the living wage rate to 125% of the Federal Poverty Level and once on the city commission, will use my business experience to collaborate with businesses owners towards a path to reduce the income inequality in our community.
2. Do you support the Alachua County Labor Coalition’s campaign asking the 10 largest employers in Alachua County to pay a living wage of 125% of the Federal Poverty Level by 2020?
Yes, having our 10 largest employers pay a living wage will have a huge impact on the livelihood of thousands of employees and their families. With my background in business, I know first-hand the challenges of balancing payroll with the company’s bottom-line. Because of that experience as a past business owner, I know that investing in a team is a choice, and that raising wages doesn’t have to mean fewer jobs. In fact, raising wages often means those employees reinvest back in the company or in the community, making a business stronger and healthier. I support the Living Wage Campaign, and I want to collaborate with our 10 largest employers to implement our goal of bringing living wages to their employees and their families. I want those families to be economically empowered, not weighed down by living paycheck-to-paycheck as the wage gap continues to grow.
Our new Labor Coalition t-shirts are union-made and locally printed. They come in small, medium, large, and extra-large and are available in Dark Ash Grey or Lime Green. They have our logo on the front and a Frederick Douglass quote on the back: “If there is no struggle there is no progress…Power concedes nothing without a demand.”
They are available on a sliding scale $16-20 and we are also offering them as a gift to anyone who joins our Committee of 100. Please contact us if you’d like to get a shirt.
P.s. We have no idea who those two t-shirt models are. Send us a pic of you or a friend wearing one of our shirts and we’ll gladly use that instead!
Over 20 Florida Cities Join National Day of Action to Fight for $15 and Union Rights
Florida’s Workers and Voters Demand Action from Presidential Candidates, State and Local Lawmakers Vowing to Take Fight for $15 to the Ballot Box in 2016
On Tuesday November 10, hundreds of Floridians will come together to demand action from state legislators and presidential candidates to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Rallies and marches will be held in over 20 cities across Florida, as part of a National Day of Action with events in over 500 cities throughout the country. Floridians will rally in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Miami, Clearwater, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Fort Myers, among other cities.
WHO: Fast Food Workers, Students, Alachua Labor Coalition, Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell, Gainesville Mayoral Candidate Lauren Poe
WHAT: National Day of Action for Living Wages and Union Rights
As Florida’s legislative session approaches and attention on the presidential primaries grows, Florida’s working families and voters are making a clear demand to state legislators and presidential candidates: hardworking Floridians need and deserve to earn at least $15 an hour and have the right to form a union, in order to help thousands of families out of poverty and restore our country’s middle class. Recent polls show that 65% of Florida voters support raising the minimum wage.
Florida voters are calling on lawmakers to take action at the state level by co-sponsoring the $15 minimum wage legislation, SB6 and HB109 and at the local level they are demanding legislators pass living wage ordinances.
Fight for 15 Florida and community members will stand together with underpaid workers who serve fast food, educate and care for children, care for seniors and people living with disabilities, help airport passengers, teach students in higher education and many others, to make sure the voices of Florida’s workers and voters are heard loud and clear.
“i’ve been working here too long to be paid so little. I’m fighting for 15 for my family and my future.” says Eric Campbell from Wendy’s in Gainesville
A recent United Way report concluded that Floridians need $15 an hour just to make ends meet as 45 percent – or 3.2 million – of all households in this state can’t afford basic housing, child care, food, health care and transportation. The last time the minimum wage was increased in Florida was in January when it went up a pathetic 12 cents, so an increase is clearly long overdue.
A recent poll of workers paid less than $15/hr commissioned by the National Employment Law Project showed that 69% of unregistered voters would register to vote if there was a candidate who supported $15/hr and a union; and that 65% of registered voters paid less than $15/hr would be more likely to vote if there was a candidate who supported $15/hr and a union. Seventy-six percent of the underpaid workers surveyed said they would pledge to vote for candidates who support $15 and a union. That’s 48 million potential voters who could turn out if there were candidates who backed higher pay and union rights.
Over the next year, the Fight for $15 plans to engage this untapped voter group around issues of higher pay, union rights, improved child care and home care, racial justice and immigration reform— issues identified by underpaid workers as key factors in whether they will go to the polls for a candidate. Forty-two percent of workers in America are paid less than $15, including 48% of women, 54% of African Americans, and 60% of Latinos.
The expansion of the Fight for $15 into the 2016 political arena marks the latest sign of the mounting political power of underpaid workers who, just three years ago launched their movement for higher pay and union rights in New York City. The demand for $15/hr is already helping to define the 2016 presidential race. All of the major Democratic presidential candidates support the Fight for $15, and the Democratic National Committee voted in August to make $15/hr an official part of its 2016 platform.
Thanks to our friend Jack for his support. You can sign up as a member, a sustainer, or to be a part of our “Committee of 100” here.
Brothers and Sisters,
As a veteran of a lifetime engaged in social justice struggle, I am writing to reacquaint you with the Alachua County Labor Coalition (ACLC) and urge you to support our efforts. The ACLC is a group of individuals, unions, and worker-friendly organizations committed to the rights of working people, their families, and communities. We rely completely on the generous support of local unions, nonprofits, faith communities, and individuals to support our work—we do not receive any government or corporate foundation grants. Membership in the Coalition starts at only $25/year, but we strongly encourage anyone who can afford it to join our “Committee of 100” and make a monthly pledge of $10-20.
In recent months, the ACLC has had some significant wins and we have expanded our base:
We were instrumental in passing a local ordinance to defend workers who are victims of wage theft. This ordinance helped recover >$17,000 in stolen wages for local workers in its first full year of implementation.
We are part of a nationwide movement fighting for a living wage for this country’s lowest paid workers. We scored our first victory last month when the County Commission and the University of Florida raised their starting wage to $12/hour. We are continuing to push for higher wages for County workers and County contractors, and are asking all of Alachua County’s ten largest employers to follow suit. Together let’s make 2016 the Year of the Living Wage!
We are part of a statewide coalition pressing the FL Legislature to accept federal Medicaid funds, a move they’ve foolishly resisted for purely ideological reasons.
We’ve organized “boots on the ground” for local workers, including bus-drivers, restaurant and grocery workers, teachers, postal workers, Verizon employees, farm workers, and more. When working folks call on us for support, we answer back “We’ll be there!”
We recognize gains made under the Affordable Care Act, but we have far to go to assure health care for all. We recently celebrated Medicare’s 50th birthday and continue to advocate for the ultimate goal of expanded and improved Medicare-for-All, everybody in, nobody out!
We’re putting out a call to all Coalition supporters: “Each One, Reach One!” Will you join or renew your membership in the ACLC, an organization dedicated to healthcare for all and fighting for working people’s rights? Will you spend some time with us out talking to folks in our community? Will you help us win our campaigns for a Living Wage and Medicaid expansion? Will you help recruit your friends and co-worker to join? The ACLC is poised to become a real force for change in this community, and to expand upon the impressive work that the organization has already accomplished in its nearly 20-year history. But we need funding, and more importantly, people power, to win. That’s where you come in. Will you stand with us this year?
Lee J. “Jack” Price, Member, Alachua County Labor Coalition
The next documentary film that the Labor Coalition is hosting is the newly updated (2014) documentary “KochBrothers Exposed,” including new interviews with Bernie Sanders and with low-paid workers about trying to live on minimum wages. The updated documentary shows how the Koch brothers have used their vast fortunes to oppose government programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, as well as obstruct efforts to raise the minimum wage, tackle climate change and expand voting rights
The film showing will be at the Alachua County Main Library, 401 E. University Ave., Rm. A, at 7:00 PM on Wed. October 21st.
The ACLC’s “Labor Films” is an ongoing series where we hope to have fun together and become more informed and inspired about issues. If you would like to suggest a film, especially a labor film that the rest of us may have missed or is newly released, please email Sheila. We welcome ideas for co-sponsors and locations to show the films. See you at the movies.
Dr. Jerry Stein, a local doctor, professor, and volunteer with Physicians for a National Health Program is working with students and UF’s College of Medicine to organize a discussion on health disparities and universal access to health care as part of a Medicare-for-All National Day of Action.
Here are maps for free parking, how to get to the building, and how to find the room (Room C1-4 in the Communicore Building). You can also search for “Communicore” on the UF Campus Map. Pizza will be provided!
On Tues, Sept. 29th, at 6:30pm, Rep. Clovis Watson will join us for a discussion of the future of Florida’s Medicaid program. Since January 1, 2014, Florida has rejected $15 million per day that would provide coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured people. The Labor Coalition is partnering with FL Chain in support of their statewide campaign to get FL to close the coverage gap by accepting billions of dollars in federal Medicaid funds. Our meeting will be at the ACEA Hall (618 NW 13th Ave. Gainesville). We’ll have pizza and drinks available starting at 6:15pm. Please join us for a successful launch of this important campaign and contact us if you’d like more information or would like to help get the word out for this event.
Note: 2 exciting opportunities to get involved in the ACLC’s Living Wage campaign: Join us Sept. 9th, 5:30pm at the IBEW Hall (2510 NW 6th St. in Gainesville) and Sept. 16th, time and location TBA (stay tuned to our Facebook group for details)
August 31st was an exciting day in Alachua County for Labor Coalition activists. Not only did we get to see the very inspiring film The Hand That Feeds, but we engaged in our first action with Fight For 15 Florida since we started the Living Wage campaign. Four Labor Coalition members went around with two state-wide organizers from Orlando and St. Pete to area fast food restaurants to talk to workers about the Fight for 15 campaign.
Von and Kelly were in Gainesville to bring the film we showed Monday night and to talk to attendees about the work they have been doing in Tampa, Orlando, St. Pete, NY and across the country to motivate workers to ask for more, to demand a living wage and better working conditions. So why not start doing some ground work here in Gainesville with the momentum we have already built county wide around worker issues?
We hit a few dozen fast food chain stores, and got workers signed up in every store. We are planning a meeting in Sept. with those workers and allies and will keep going around to talk to workers in preparation for a nation-wide action on Nov. 10. We need your help in continuing totalk to workers at their work place. A few hours of your time is all it will take. The workers are excited, John D., Paul O., Dave O., and Sheila were jazzed about the reactions. It is not scary at all, some of the managers even signed, and called the workers over to talk to us.