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AFL-CIO Now

Raising Wages Summit

Today, the AFL-CIO is sponsoring a National Summit on Raising Wages with a broad range of speakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and actress Piper Perabo, among many others. Panelists will discuss the need to raise wages for working people in America. Watch the summit via live stream here:

Check back here for updates if you can't watch live:

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11:03: Tanden says the idea that our current economic situation is "just the way it is" isn't a valid argument. Our situation is a result of choices.

11:00: Up next is a raising wages roundtable, moderated by Dorian Warren of Columbia University, including:

  • David Borris, owner, Hel's Kitchen Catering
  • Michael Cantrell, president, UAW Local 42
  • Jennifer Epps-Addison, executive director, Wisconsin Jobs Now
  • Colby Harris, OUR Walmart member
  • Piper Perabo, actor, SAG-AFTRA member
  • Neera Tanden, president, Center for American Progress
  • The Hon. Marty Walsh, mayor of Boston
  • Angie Wei, chief of staff, California Labor Federation

10:19: "We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty."

10:15: The top 10%, Warren says, got all of the income growth in the past 30 years. We need an economy where everyone has a great shot.

10:13: Warren: "Trickle-down economics was nothing more than helping the rich and powerful get more rich and powerful."

10:12: Warren: "Many people feel that the game is rigged against them and they're right, the game is rigged against them."

10:11: Instead of building an economy that works for all Americans, we've pushed the system to work for only some Americans, Warren says. 

10:10: Says Warren: the average family today is making less than they did in the past. The growth in the GDP in recent years, 100% of it, went to the top 1%.

10:05: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): "The American middle-class is in deep trouble." Things like stock market increases don't mean much to families who don't own stock.

9:51: Perez: "When we work together, we succeed."

9:44: The U.S., Perez says, is behind much of the rest of the world on benefits, notably things like paid leave.

9:42: Other key issues we need to address, Perez says, include overtime pay, wage theft, immigration reform and worker misclassification (which really should be called workplace fraud).

9:38: Perez: "You shouldn't have to win the geographic lottery to get a good wage."

9:35: Raising the minimum wage is the first step, he says. Opponents of the minimum wage have been predicting doom and gloom since the wage was first instituted and the predictions always fail to come true.

9:33: Business leaders frequently tell him that the thing they need the most is customers. Prosperity hasn't been shared in the recovery and low-wage and zero benefits are a choice, not a necessity.

9:32: Shared sacrifice leads to shared prosperity, Perez says.

9:30: Perez said that the labor movement is about creating shared prosperity.

9:27: Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says that the economy is coming back, but we have much more work to do. This past month was the best month of private-sector job growth since the 1990s.

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