At the AFL-CIO's National Summit on Raising Wages last week, President Richard Trumka announced two important new parts of the labor federation's agenda. This spring, the federation will sponsor Raising Wages summits in four key states. Additionally, the AFL-CIO will organize projects in 10 cities to focus on raising wages in those locales.
Trumka explained the reason for the stepped-up efforts:
American workers are beginning to say “enough.” We are beginning to rise up, to come together, to reject the idea that there is nothing we can do about falling wages. We are tired of people talking about inequality as if nothing can be done. The answer is simple—raise the wages of the 90% of Americans whose wages are lower today than they were in 1997. Families don’t need to hear more about income inequality—they need more income.
AFL-CIO's state labor federations in the first four presidential primary states—Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina will take place in the spring. These summits will bring together diverse voices to lay out the entire raising wages platform and establish state-based standards of accountability. Trumka talked about the significance of those states: "Raising wages is the single standard by which leadership will be judged. That means accountability, and it starts with something we all understand—presidential politics."
After working with affiliates and community partners, the AFL-CIO identified the 10 cities for raising wages campaigns where they could have the most significant impact. The cities include Atlanta, Columbus, District of Columbia (Metro), St. Louis, Philadelphia, Minneapolis & St. Paul, Houston, Miami, Dallas and San Diego. In each city, the labor movement will stand together with those already at work and bring important energy, ideas and resources to critical battles.
These new campaigns are the beginning of the federation's efforts to expand the raising wages agenda.