Fight For 15 Continues Occupy Challenge To The 1%

One in two college graduates are now either unemployed or underemployed. Millennials – even those from the middle class – are experiencing income inequality and America’s failed dream of upward mobility first-hand. The mismatch of college-educated young workers with low-wage, unskilled, precarious jobs is creating a new face of the once-dwindling American labor movement: young, diverse, led by millennials in their twenties and thirties, and fighting what they see as an unfair labor market. Their modest cause? Pushing for a higher minimum wage. Because of too many young people interested looking for work, these millennials reason that the labor movement is the only way to address large-scale poverty and income inequality – starting with their own. The "Fight for 15" movement is the most visible of these. Designed by the SEIU to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour, the effort has been driven by young activists. Last fall, the movement claimed its first legislative victory with residents in SeaTac, Seattle’s airport carrying suburb, voting to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. “There’s more enthusiasm than there has been probably in our lifetime for this,” says Ady Barkan, a 30-year-old Yale Law graduate and staff attorney at the Center for Popular Democracy in New York, indicating that the "Fight for 15" movement is picking up where Occupy Wall Street left off. He calls it “part of a similar cultural moment”.

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