NLF Highlights - Current Topics in Labor
Published by the Murphy Institute, CUNY
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New Labor Forum Highlights: April 18th, 2016 

This week's Highlights focuses on the Fight for $15. We begin with New Labor Forum consulting editor, Stephanie Luce, who places the wage gains in context of the larger, global fight to stop the erosion of worker power and answers critics who claim that the United States cannot afford a $15 minimum wage. We also encapsulate information we think everyone should want to know about the differences between the recent New York and California wage increases,  and the positions of each of the five 2016 Presidential candidates on #FightforFifteen. Next, we have a video clip from a panel at the Murphy Institute where Fight for $15 Organizing Director Kendall Fells describes how thousands of workers least expected to rise up are doing so to demand what no one thought possible: $15 an hour for fast-food workers. We conclude with two pieces about the massive day of action, April 14, 2016, for the Fight for $15. The first is a video from Fight for $15 that shows the scope of involvement around the globe. And we close with an article about Jeffrey Pendleton, to whom the day of action was dedicated.


  1. And a Union: Minimum-Wage Victories and The Fight for Worker Power by Stephanie Luce
  2. Comparing New York and California’s Wage Increases
  3. The Presidential Candidates on #FightforFifteen
  4. VIDEO: Kendall Fells on the Fight for $15 
  5. VIDEO: Fight for $15 April 14, 2016
  6. When Wages Lead to Jail and Death

And a Union: Minimum-Wage Victories and The Fight for Worker Power
By Stephanie Luce / Murphy Institute


crowd shotProfessor Luce writes: “Over the past two decades, activists have worked to pass living-wage ordinances at the local level, hoping to put pressure on states and the federal government. Some states acquiesced, boosting wages and instituting annual adjustments for inflation. In the early 2000's, even a few cities passed minimum-wage increases. But after Occupy in 2011, and the wave of fast-food strikes the following year in New York City, the movement to raise wages took a new turn and a bolder stance: $15 an hour and a union. When the campaign first began, that pay demand seemed like a pipe dream: $15 was more than double New York’s minimum wage at the time ($7.25), and fast-food workers — often considered unskilled and dispensable — seemed like unlikely candidates to challenge multi-billion-dollar corporations."

"Yet the call for $15 resonated.”

Read the full article

Comparing New York and California’s Wage Increases
From the New Labor Forum Blog


crowd shotIn the last month, both New York and California passed legislation to raise the minimum wage, very concrete victories of the Fight for $15 movement. But the laws are different in significant ways. In this brief guide, we present the legislation side by side so readers can compare the two.

Summary of New York and California's historic wage increases

The Presidential Candidates on #FightforFifteen
From the New Labor Forum blog

crowd shot
We’ve collected statements from each candidate reflecting their position on the movement and on raising the minimum wage. 

See candidate info here

VIDEO: Kendall Fells at the JSMI Black Lives Matter / Fight for $15 Forum 

crowd shotKendall Fells, the Organizing Director of Fast Food Forward- SEIU/Fight for $15, describes the context from which the Fight for $15 grew, and what lies ahead.

Clip from the BLACK LIVES MATTER/FIGHT FOR $15: A NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENT forum, hosted at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute on October 19, 2015.

Watch the video

VIDEO: Fight for $15 April 14, 2016 

crowd shotSee what happened across the country and around the globe on April 14, 2016, when protestors in over 300 cities stood up for the Fight for $15.

Watch the video

When Low Wages Lead to Jail and Death 

crowd shotA moving tribute to Jeffrey Pendleton and a rallying cry for the entire Fight for $15 movement.

Read the article

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