By Tara Ehrcke
Dozens of activists hit the streets in Victoria on January 15th in the new Fight for Fifteen campaign, endorsed by the BC Federation of Labour. Organizers across British Columbia are planning events for the 15th of every month until we see the provincial minimum wage increased to $15/hr: 15 in 2015.
BC currently has the ninth lowest minimum wage across Canada, at $10.25/hr. This is below the $13/hr poverty level and only half the living wage in the mid-size and large cities, which ranges from $18 – $20/hr.
It is despicable that such a wealthy province allows so many workers to remain in poverty level wages. More than half of those earning minimum wage are adults supporting themselves and often children. It is therefore no wonder that BC also has the highest child poverty rate in Canada.
Unionized workers making significantly more than this minimum should be active participants in this fight. We all gain when we raise standards and wages for all workers and we broaden the solidarity in the labour movement and with the broader working class.
We will need a vibrant, active and broad-based movement to budge the BC Liberals into another increase. If you live in BC, you can sign the petition and join the campaign at fightfor15bc.ca. If you live in Victoria, join for our Facebook group Fight for Fifteen Victoria for regular updates. In Vancouver, phone the BC Federation of Labour offices for information on organizing groups in the lower mainland. If you are elsewhere in BC, start your own group and connect with the BC Fed for coordinating activities and for materials and supplies.