Workers Deserve a Living Wage

"The economic unity of the workers must first be effected before there can be any progress towards emancipation. The interests of the millions of wage workers are identical, regardless of nationality, creed, or sex, and if they will only open their eyes to this simple, self-evident fact, the greatest obstacle will have been overcome and the day of victory draw near."

Eugene Debbs 



  • More than 53 million people, or 44% of all workers ages 18 to 64 in the United States, earn low hourly wages. More than half (56%) are in their prime working years of 25-50, and this age group is also the most likely to be raising children (43%)
  • About 1.2 million workers have wages below the federal minimum
  • Among women across all races and ethnicities, hourly earnings lag behind those of white men and men in their own racial or ethnic group
  • In 2015, average hourly wages for Black and Hispanic men were $15 and $14, respectively, compared with $21 for white men
  • According to the Economic Policy Institute, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would increase the salary of 20% of wage-earning Americans
  • A higher minimum wage than the federal minimum applies in many parts of the United States, due to local legislation

Organizations Addressing the Need for Living Wages



"Building power from below and organizing amongst ourselves is the brightest hope we have to improve the lives of working folk. Remember that politicians will not save us, and most of them are actively rooting against us."

Kim Kelly, "What the Labor Movement Wants From a Joe Biden Administration"


Academic Papers & Reports


"The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the economic perils still faced by Black, Hispanic and Native American workers as a result of their disproportionate employment in low-wage sectors of the labor market—jobs that while deemed invaluable 'essential work' during this crisis often don’t pay a living wage. Making the minimum wage a living wage would match politicians’ rhetoric with actual public policy and would go a long way in making the lives of people of color materially better."

- Ellora Derenoncourt and Claire Montialoux (professors at the University of California, Berkeley)



Analysts and policy makers often compare income to the federal poverty threshold in order to determine an individual’s ability to live within a certain standard of living. However, poverty thresholds do not account for living costs beyond a very basic food budget. The federal poverty measure does not take into consideration costs like childcare and health care that not only draw from one’s income, but also are determining factors in one’s ability to work and to endure the potential hardships associated with balancing employment and other aspects of everyday life. Further, poverty thresholds do not account for geographic variation in the cost of essential household expenses."

- Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier, "About the Living Wage Calculator"



The Minimum Wage Debate Explained


What Happens When We Raise The Minimum Wage?

AskProfWolff: A Livable Wage


The time is NOW to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour