Yesterday, KPIRG members, and staff gave a presentation to the BC Fair Wages Commission asking the panel to implement $15 an hour minimum wage now.
We know that many of our members struggle to pay their tuition, struggle with the high price of housing, and of course many of our members engage in precarious and unsafe work.
KPIRG recently spent an afternoon at the Cloverdale campus, tabling for the Fight for 15. Most students were very supportive of the campaign commenting that even a minimum a $15/hr was too low. The only person who didn’t support us was an older, white, tenured professor.
That is to say, young folk have more at stake with this issue. We don’t have the same opportunities as our parents. Wages have not increased fast enough, and the cost of training by the employer is externalized so the burden has been overwhelmingly pushed onto the individual. And those expectations have risen exponentially.
The folks who have the most privilege and who’s lives are the ones who are least impacted by this issue are generally the only people that don’t support raising the minimum wage, these aren’t the people whose voices should matter when discussing this issue. The voices of all minimum wage workers need to be heard.
The demographics of minimum wage workers are often women, many of them are people of colour, and many of them can’t afford to go to school nor do they want to go into debt, just to get a degree that will land them back where they started.
$15 an hour is still not a living wage in this city. It certainly won’t pay for an undergrad or grad school. But it’s finally a move in the right direction.
Eventually, we need to make the move to paying all workers a living wage in this city and catch up with the many years that wages have not been reflective of cost of living increases – especially housing. Until then, $15 an hour is at least a start.
We’ll be compiling personal testimonials, and a backgrounder on why KPIRG supports $15/hr minimum wage now.
If you’re interested in sending a message to the BC Fair Wages Commission