Working People Across Cleveland to Declare Independence from Poverty Wages, Call for Swift Passage of Federal Raise The Wage Act

Working People Across Cleveland to Declare Independence from Poverty Wages, Call for Swift Passage of Federal Raise The Wage Act

CLEVELAND, OHIO – On Wednesday, July 3rd at 11 AM, local healthcare workers and community members, will hold a protest and press conference outside of Key Bank Tower in Cleveland. As our country prepares to celebrate freedom on Independence Day, Cleveland area workers will declare their independence from poverty wages, urging federal lawmakers to pass the Raise The Wage Act and local employers to lead the way by raising wages now. 

With the United States recently shattering the record for the longest gap between increases in the federal minimum wage, working people across Cleveland are taking their “Fight for $15 and a Union” back to the streets saying that nearly a decade of a $7.25 poverty wage is long enough. This time workers will rise up in the shadow of Key Bank Tower, calling on Key Bank CEO and Chair of the Cleveland Clinic Board of Directors Beth Mooney to stand with workers at the Clinic who struggle under the weight of poverty wages.  

Workers like Destiny Bates, who works as a housekeeper at Cleveland Clinic Lutheran Hospital, are fed up with greedy corporations not paying wages that allow employees the economic security to raise their families and live with dignity. Destiny is just one of over a hundred Cleveland Clinic workers who were promised to have their wages increased, but were later denied that raise by hospital executives. Earning just $13.85 per hour, Destiny struggles every day to make ends meet while taking care of her two children and, with the help of her mother, also providing for her younger sister and grandmother.

“Despite working for one of the wealthiest hospital systems in the world, workers like Destiny Bates are not paid the living wage they have earned,” said Anthony Caldwell, spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199. “If the Cleveland Clinic has the money for boujie hospitals in the Middle East, Florida and near Buckingham Palace in London, then they can take care of their hard-working employees right here in Cleveland.”

Workers aren’t just relying on employers like the Cleveland Clinic to raise wages. Working people across Cleveland are also making phone calls, sending letters and writing emails to federal lawmakers seeking independence from poverty wages. According to Politico, top House Democrats have vowed to hold a vote on the Raise The Wage Act for a $15 per hour minimum wage bill before the August recess; however, there are only 12 legislative days in July for Speaker Pelosi to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

“Since the creation of the federal minimum wage, there has never been a gap as long between increases as the one that’s happening right now,” continued Caldwell. “It is up to all of us to reach out to our elected representatives in Washington and demand a vote on the Raise The Wage Act to increase the minimum wage to $15 for everyone who works in this county.”

Contact Anthony Caldwell at acaldwell@seiu1199.org, 330-651-2042. 

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