Faith, labor and community leaders celebrated wins in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and California this week as Friedrichs vs. CTA ended in a tie vote, UPMC granted workers a $15 wage, and California announced a plan for statewide minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. (Photo, April 2015 Fight for 15 march, from PIIN)
An entire movement breathed a sigh of relief with the news Tuesday that the Supreme Court members tied in their vote on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. If they’d reversed an earlier court decision, it would have weakened labor and people power throughout the land.
The same day, our affiliate Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, PIIN, and its allies Pittsburgh United and Make it Our UPMC celebrated a win almost as big. UPMC, their state’s largest employer, announced that by 2021 its minimum wage would go from $11.71 to $15 per hour.
Unfortunately, UPMC stopped short of recognizing workers’ right to form a union. Rev. Rodney Lyde, PIIN president, issued a statement:
Two years ago, a UPMC executive responded to our calls for $15 and a union by saying that $15 an hour ‘wasn’t reasonable.’ Because workers stood up, UPMC has finally recognized the value of all their workers. Now we call on UPMC to recognize the other half of our demand and respect workers' right to form a union without interference or intimidation.
Meanwhile, California is setting the pace for the nation with its announcement of a statewide $15-an-hour minimum wage. Just 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to go!