Clinton Tells the Fight for $15, “We Need You”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has officially joined the fight to raise the minimum wage to a living wage after feeling pressure from progressive candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

On Sunday, over 1,300 workers and organizers for the Fight for $15 gathered at a convention held by the Service Employees International Union in Detroit. The crowd included low-wage workers from across the country, who are fighting for a living wage and greater collective bargaining rights.

Clinton joined the convention via phone, saying, “All of you should not have to march in the streets to get a living wage. But thank you for marching….We need you out there.”

Clinton’s statement follows St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s bill announcement on Friday of a bill that would raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. New York Governor Chris Cuomo has also recently announced his plans to raise the state’s minimum wage to that of a living wage.

The Fight for $15 movement has gained immense ground throughout the country. San Francisco and Seattle have already passed proposals for the living wage, and just this past month Los Angeles followed suit.

So far, three out of the four announced Democratic candidates have voiced support for the movement. The only candidate who has not directly supported a living wage is former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee. Chafee did sign a minimum wage increase for his state in 2014. However, he also signed a minimum wage preemption measure in 2014, which mirrors the measure set by Republicans in Missouri to stop individual cities from raising the minimum wage by late August.

“I want to be your champion,” said Clinton during Sunday’s phone call. “We need you out there fighting against those who would strip away Americans’ right to organize, to collectively bargain, to fair play.”

Joining the Fight for $15 is one step Clinton is taking to build her progressive support base. If she can explicitly embrace other populist measures, she will have an even greater stronghold with progressives.

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