As the results on Election Night were coming in, I was thinking about all of the possibilities with a legislature that is controlled by Democrats. I couldn’t stop thinking about one thing. We can finally, FINALLY, raise the minimum wage to $15.
The minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009, and people are really struggling. It’s past time that we did something about this issue. I recently talked with Joyce, who has been a home health care worker for 30 years. She makes $8.25 an hour (which is actually more than minimum wage) but she has to work two or three jobs at a time to make ends meet. Some days, she has to work from 7am until 10pm to make sure she has enough money to make her car payment and put gas in the car to get to work. When Joyce found out her 15-year-old grandson was making more than her as a janitor, she was really demoralized. She has a professional skill set that she’s developed over 30 years, but her work is not valued. It’s hard to keep going to work when you know your skills are taken for granted.
People in our community like Joyce deserve to have the opportunity to thrive. But when Republicans and corporate special interest groups work together to keep the minimum wage low, hardworking people can’t get ahead no matter how many hours they work. It’s time for us to come together and demand change.
It won’t be easy to raise the minimum wage to $15, even with Democrats in charge of the House of Delegates and State Senate. Some people think that we should be content with raising the wage to $10.10 or that we should only raise the wage for some people. That’s not acceptable. We can’t leave anyone behind. Everyone is worthy of being paid a living wage, and no one should have to work two or three jobs just to put food on the table and keep the lights on and the best way to do that is to raise the wage to $15 for everyone across the Commonwealth.
So we have to come together to tell them that we elected them so that everyone could get a raise, and we aren’t leaving anyone behind. So you know what to do. Email your legislators right now and tell them to vote for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour so that hardworking Virginians finally have a shot at thriving in our communities.