Did you get your raise?! – Just Pay Coalition and DOES celebrate minimum wage increase to $10.50

Last Wednesday, the EJC and the Just Pay Coalition teamed up with the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) to ask all minimum wage workers in DC a simple question: “Did you get your raise?!”

The joint outreach effort, in which volunteers were stationed at busy metro stations and corridors across the city, ensured that all District workers know that on July 1, the minimum wage increased to $10.50 per hour. In December, 2013, the DC Council passed the Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013, which will ultimately increase DC’s minimum wage to $11.50 by next July, and tie increases after that to the cost of living.

The minimum wage increase currently gives the District one of the highest minimum wages in the country. An estimated 41,000 workers will get their raise, earning an additional $2,000 a year for full time employees.

EJC Workers' Committee member Jhonny Castillo hands out information on the minimum wage.

EJC Workers’ Committee member Jhonny Castillo hands out information on the minimum wage.

 

“Getting this small raise will have a big impact (Van a tener este pequeño aumento que se va a sentir grande), ” said Jhonny Castillo, member of the EJC’s workers’ committee. “The cost of food, transportation, the extra money will help with all that (Las comidas, pasajes, si va a apoyar este dinero que les va a llegar).”

“Now people need to demand the raises that we have fought for!

Espero que las personas reclaman por el beneficio que se ha peleado!” – Jhonny Castillo

After an early morning of hitting the streets, the Just Pay Coalition and DOES came together at a press conference in front of Good Food Market on Rhode Island Avenue to celebrate this important victory for District workers.

Delfina Flores, a member of the EJC’s Workers’ Committee, was elated to receive her raise. “I’ve worked for 10 years cleaning office buildings and I’ve always been paid the minimum wage,” she told the crowd in Spanish. “Now I’m going to get a raise to $10.50 and I’ll be able to pay my rent and help my mom and my daughter.”

EJC Workers' Committee member Delfina Flores tells the crowd that she is getting a raise to $10.50!

EJC Workers’ Committee member Delfina Flores tells the crowd that she is getting a raise to $10.50!

“It’s been an uphill battle to support myself and my sons in this industry, so a raise in the minimum wage is much needed for my family and other workers like me all over DC,” said Jemaire Steward, member of the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC). “I know my story isn’t unique and that there are thousands of other workers in DC who are struggling and are grateful for this progress towards a living wage.”

“Today isn’t just $10.50, it’s a milestone of struggle for what we need!” – Jemaire Steward

ROC-DC member Jemaire Steward.

ROC-DC member Jemaire Steward.

Gaby Madriz, Director of ROC-DC, spoke out on behalf of the Just Pay Coalition. “Wage disparities are at a 35 year high, with Black and Latino workers seeing the slowest gains thus far,” said Madriz. “Today’s and future increases in the minimum wage will help ensure that the prosperity of the District doesn’t leave low-wage workers behind.”

“Workers are essential to the continued growth of our local economy.” – Gaby Madriz

ROC-DC director Gaby Madriz.

ROC-DC director Gaby Madriz.

“Today, 41,000 DC residents get a raise and paid sick leave,” said Mayor Bowser. She congratulated the Just Pay Coalition for their hard work to guarantee a higher minimum wage, access to sick leave, and greater protections against wage theft.

Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by Deputy Mayor for Economic Issues, officials from the DC Department of Employment Services, and Councilmember Elissa Silverman.

Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by Deputy Mayor for Economic Issues, officials from the DC Department of Employment Services, and Councilmember Elissa Silverman.

EJC thanks the members of the Just Pay Coalition, including Jews United for Justice, DC Jobs with Justice, Restaurant Opportunities Center of DC, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, Working Families Organization, Family Values at Work, and more for your support in making this outreach day a success. We couldn’t do it without you. United we are stronger!

Some members of the Just Pay Coalition!

Some members of the Just Pay Coalition!