Entitled “The Growing Movement for $15,” the report comes days after adjunct professors and fast-food, home care, child care, retail and airport workers announced the largest-ever national mobilization for higher pay.
The report which provides wage and demographic figures found that 54.1 percent of African Americans workers make less than $15 and hour, while for Latinos workers it’s close to 60 percent.
Women and Blacks are overrepresented in jobs paying less than a $15 wage. Female workers account for 54.7 percent of those making less than $15 per hour while making up less than half of the overall U.S. workforce (48.3 percent). African Americans make up about 12 percent of the total workforce, and they account for 15 percent of the sub-$15-wage workforce. Similarly, Latinos constitute 16.5 percent of the workforce, but account for almost 23 percent of workers making less than $15 per hour.
Also, more than 90 percent of workers in the fast-food, child care and home care industries—overwhelmingly dominated by women—are paid less than $15 an hour, the report found.
Christine Owens, executive director of NELP, said that increasing salaries to $15 an hour would not only help decrease poverty but also add to the economy.
“Low-wage occupations in sectors such as retail, home care and restaurants are among the fastest growing in the country,” said Owens in a statement. “If we want an economy that is balanced and shares prosperity fairly, we must raise wages in these sectors so that they can serve as the cornerstones to rebuilding our nation’s disappearing middle class.”
Seattle and San Francisco have already adopted a $15 minimum wage, and workers have rallied in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and in Oregon and Delaware for the same. The campaign has made successful inroads in the private sector as well. Insurance giant Aetna, Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Rochester have all raised their base pay to close to $15 an hour.
Read the full report HERE.