California has been leading the way on issues that matter to working families, including raising the minimum wage and expanding paid family leave. And these victories aren’t just top-down decisions; they’re the result of working people coming together and making sure their voices are heard.
On April 8, Secretary Tom Perez traveled to Los Angeles to host a Regional Summit on Worker Voice to hear firsthand about the innovative ways workers, state and city officials, congressional leaders, union advocates, community organizers and employers are coming together to build an economy that works for everyone.
At the summit, Mayor Eric Garcetti shared how workers in Los Angeles have fought for – and won – fair wages, paid leave, and safeguarding the right to bargain collectively. Last year, Los Angeles increased its minimum wage to $15, leading six other cities in LA County to raise their wages, too. The ripple effect of these actions ultimately led to a bill (signed April 4) raising the statewide minimum wage to $15 by 2023. These major victories were driven by workers advocating for living wages to better support their families.
Secretary Tom Perez and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the summit.
Actress Adrienne Moore, best known for her role as Cindy in “Orange is the New Black,” described how being a union member has made a difference in her own career, and how collective bargaining protects the workers who keep LA running.
And activists like Flor Rodriguez of the CLEAN Carwash Campaign participated in breakout panels to discuss in-depth how they’re innovating to organize workers across a variety of industries.
After the summit, Secretary Perez traveled to Oxnard, California, to meet with the Equitable Food Initiative and farmworkers. EFI is a nonprofit organization that brings together workers, growers and retailers in the effort to produce more responsibly grown fruits and vegetables.
EFI partners with unions, consumer groups, growers and buyers who understand that investing in workers is the way to create shared prosperity. They know it’s a false choice to say you can either create value for shareholders or treat workers with dignity.
This is just a snapshot of the power of worker voice in California, which is part of a larger movement across the nation. President Obama and Secretary Perez believe that when workers have a voice, our communities, businesses and economy are stronger because it allows everyone to share in the broad-based economic growth they are helping create. The White House Summit on Worker Voice last October and the regional summits we’re hosting this year are just the beginning.
Now we want to hear from you: #StartTheConvo in your workplace today and share your worker voice story with us here.