Next Monday, March 20 – two of the biggest issues we are fighting at the Statehouse will see action at three metro-area city council meetings.

It’s critical that we mobilize our members to pressure the city councils in Ankeny, Des Moines, and West Des Moines to stand with everyday people, not corporate power.

Can you attend one of these meetings next Monday?

  • Ankeny’s city council is trying to opt out of Polk County’s increased minimum wage ordinance that goes into effect April 1. Essentially they’ll vote on lowering wages. That’s not right; living wages are good for everyone. We’re meeting at 5 pm at City Hall – details and RSVP here
  • Des Moines City Council (thanks to your pressure) will take a public vote on support for HF 484, the bad corporate-power grab bill to dismantle Des Moines Water Works. We want them to stand with ratepayers – NOT Farm Bureau who is playing politics with our precious water. We’re meeting at 4:30 at the *new/temporary* council location – details and RSVP here
  • West Des Moines city council will review their potential support of HF 484, the bill to dismantle DMWW, for the first time. We’re meeting at 5 pm at City Hall – details and RSVP here

 

Today, CCI members celebrate as Black Hawk County becomes the 5th Iowa county taking proactive steps forwards in raising the wage across the state.

The Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors voted on January 31st  to establish a task force to look into raising the minimum wage. The measure was approved 4-1, with only Supervisor Linda Laylin voting against creating the task force. With this vote Black Hawk County has the potential to join Johnson, Linn, and Polk Counties in passing a county-wide minimum wage increase.

This vote by the Supervisors comes as some state legislators discuss introducing and passing a minimum wage preemption bill. A preemption bill would strip Iowa counties of local control of the minimum wage in their communities and lower wages in counties that have already passed ordinances back down to the state and federal level of $7.25/hr.

The Black Hawk County Supervisors are acting on the minimum wage issue for the same reason other counties across the state have – lack of initiative by the state legislature and growing poverty in their communities. “The simple fact of the matter is the federal and state governments haven’t acted since 2007, and we have folks living here with stagnant wages. Low wages keep Black Hawk County residents in poverty and out of home ownership, which lowers the property tax revenue for the county,” said Supervisor Schwartz.

Next steps

Each Supervisor will have the opportunity to appoint two members to the task force. A timeline for the task force has not been laid out yet, but some Supervisors on the board encouraged Supervisors to make their appointments within two weeks.

Congratulations to the residents of Black Hawk County on this first step towards a living wage! As the taskforce moves forward on raising the wage, we’ll continue to keep you updated on ways YOU can plug into this fight.

Learn more:

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight. !Hablamos español!
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep the momentum going! LIKE and SHARE this blog to #Fightfor15

We have an exciting win for worker justice in Iowa to share with you!

After four months of organizing, nearly 30 workers voted YES to join the DMI American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 44.

In July, a group of workers from PAE in Urbandale came to Iowa CCI to organize and improve their working environment. PAE – a subcontractor for the US Postal Service – was cutting benefits, freezing wages, increasing production rates, and retaliating against long-time employees.

A group of 18 workers – mostly women, mostly Latina – met weekly to develop organizing strategies to take back their workplace. Week after week more workers joined with us.

We teamed up with DMI APWU Local 44 organizers in Des Moines to prepare workers to take all the necessary steps to form a union – the most powerful move to secure worker rights and fair treatment.

Last Friday afternoon, they officially won their union in a HUGE landslide vote!

It’s been exciting to see the courage of these workers who – true to CCI style – aren’t ones to stand by and just let things happen. They talked, they acted and they got things done – making their workplace better for all.

In the battle for an economy that truly works for everyone, not just the wealthy few, I think you’ll agree that this is an exciting win. And, the work has just begun. Stay tuned as these workers negotiate – and win – their first union contract.

LIKE and SHARE for a Fair Economy Iowa!

As the issue of raising the minimum wage spreads from Iowa counties to finally garnering the attention of Governor Branstad, new research shows that single workers in Iowa must be paid $15.10 per hour just to cover basic expenses. Those paying off student debt must be paid $16.74 per hour.

Waiting for the Payoff: How Low Wages and Student Debt Keep Prosperity Out of Reach, a new report from People’s Action Institute calculates living wages, both with and without student debt payments, for all 50 states and Washington, D.C.  The report shows that Iowa’s minimum wage of $7.25 represents only 48 percent of the true cost of living for a single person. For families with children, the minimum wage lags even farther behind.

  • Read the full report, titled “Waiting for the Payoff: How Low Wages and Student Debt Keep Prosperity Out of Reachhere.
  • Iowa specific data, with Polk & Story County breakdowns, can be viewed here.

Featured in the report is Iowan Tonja Galvan, who has been actively involved in the campaign to raise the minimum wage in Polk County.  Tonja notes that even though she makes what is considered a living wage, her mother and daughter do not, so along with her granddaughter all must live under the same roof just to try and make ends meet.

A living wage would allow families like Tonja’s to cover basic expenses, such as housing and utilities, and save modestly for emergencies.

With wages falling far below the cost of living, many Iowans are working two or three jobs, cutting back on essentials like food, borrowing from predatory lenders, living in vehicles, or taking other drastic measures to get by.

These figures show how modest a $15/hour wage increase proposal is. We need to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr with no exemptions and no pre-emption. We cannot put the interests of big business corporations over everyday people. It’s time to raise the wage for all Iowans.

As we move the Fight for $15 forward to the Statehouse next session, it is crucial that as many people as possible know $15/hr is not just ideal, but a researched back necessity for hundreds of thousands of Iowans.

SPREAD THE WORD.  LIKE and SHARE this blog via social media and email.

We’re getting closer and closer to a living wage. Let’s keep going!

Join the Fight!

Keep the momentum going! LIKE and SHARE this blog to #Fightfor15

People power wins! $10.75 today, $15 tomorrow.

 

You probably know by now that the Polk County Supervisors voted on Tuesday, October 11th to raise the minimum wage to $10.75. When implemented, this will improve the lives of 55,000 people. That’s a big deal!

You helped make this win a reality. The Supervisors would never have enacted an increase without support, and pressure, from people like you. Thanks for  sending your emails, letters-to-the-editor and showing up and speaking out at each Supervisor meeting. Thanks for your passion and willingness to push for a wage that people can live on.

Today, we have something to celebrate. Tomorrow, we have a lot more work to do.

 

10.75 an hour by 2019 is a start—it’s not the final victory. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and make $15 an hour the minimum wage reality for all Iowans.

We have momentum on our side right now. We can’t let up.

There’s critical work to be done in the next few months to:

  • Urge each city in Polk County to embrace the increase, not lower it
  • Beat back the attacks from the restaurant and grocery industries
  • Build our people-power to take the Fight for $15 to the Statehouse in January

Wages for everyday folks have been stagnant for decades, while the wealth of the corporate 1% continues to grow. In a time of rampant inequality, the Fight for $15 will be a real win for all of us—our workers, our families, our businesses, and our community. 

Learn more:

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight. !Hablamos español!
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep the momentum going! LIKE and SHARE this blog to #Fightfor15

The Fight for $15 is wrapping up at the Polk County Board of Supervisor meetings, as the Supervisors voted to raise the minimum wage to $10.75 by 2019, one step closer to a living wage of $15/hr.

However, the Supervisors took two steps back by moving forward with the youth wage (85% of minimum wage) and blindsiding the public with an amendment to freeze the tipped wage at $5/hr.

Last Tuesday, over two dozen CCI members – including teens – went head-to-head with the Supervisors, calling them out for putting the interests of the restaurant and grocery industry before the needs everyday Iowans.

Our message was loud and clear.

  • No exclusions – no freezing tipped wages and no youth wage
  • Fight for $15 – a living wage is good for workers, businesses and all of us.

Despite public outcry, the Supervisors are refusing to scrap the youth wage and tipped wage exemptions, but it’s not over!

Next week is the final reading. We need you there!

What: Fight for $15 Rally

Where: Polk County Administration Building, 111 Court Avenue

When: Final reading of ordinance at 9:30 AM (meetings have lasted an hour), rally directly proceeding hearing outside the administration building

RSVP here.

What happens in Polk County sets the tone for what happens on this issue in cities across the state and at the Statehouse. The more people that turn out, the more the Supervisors (and state leaders) will know that we’re not backing down; we’re fighting for fair!

Plug in!

Four GREAT letters-to-the-editor on the Fight for $15 in Polk County, read: 

And one AWESOME video:

This is why we need $15/hr

Join the Fight!

LIKE and SHARE to #Fightfor15