Austin Elects Labor Lawyer as DA – Florida Passes $15-an-Hour – Prop 22 Deceptive Message Worked

Fast Food Workers Strike in Tampa (McKenna Schueler/ CL Tampa)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where the Trump campaign is attempting to stop the count of votes. 

Donate to Help Us Cover Vote Count in PA

Currently, Trump holds a 6-point lead in Pennsylvania with 85% of the vote counted. However, Tom Wolf, the Governor of Pennsylvania has already stated publicly that he believes ballot counting will go on till at least Friday. 

Trump has already signaled that he will push to stop the vote count in Pennsylvania and his campaign has scheduled a press conference in Philadelphia today to announce their intentions. 

At Payday, we’re ready to cover the fightback. 

Donate Today to Help Payday Cover the Fightback to Count the Vote Here in Western PA

Florida Passes $15 an Hour Minimum Wage

While much of the mainstream media has focused on how Trump won Florida yesterday, little attention has been paid to Florida’s Amendment 2, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. Florida voters passed the amendment overwhelmingly with 61% of the vote.

Florida now becomes only the 7th state in the nation to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, following states like California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

“For months, we’ve put our lives on the line at work, while our families have struggled to put food on the table,” said a Lakeland McDonald worker, Faith Booker, in a statement issued by the Fight for $15. “But we knew that by coming together across industries and throughout our entire state, working people could propel Amendment 2 to victory.”

For more, check out Dave Jamieson’s coverage at HuffPost. 

After 6 Years of Fighting, Colorado Finally Passes Paid Family Leave

For more than six years, legislators in the Colorado State House have struggled to overcome corporate interests and pass a paid family leave program that allows workers to take time off to care for a loved one or have a baby. The measure passed overwhelmingly by a margin of 57% – 43%. 

The program would establish up to ten weeks of paid family medical leave and cover up to $1,110 of a week’s worth of salary for workers taking advantage of the program. 

“I am so proud that Colorado is the first state to do this on the ballot and it shows how incredibly popular and needed this program was,” State Senator Faith Winter told The Colorado Sun. 

For more, check out the Colorado Sun. 

Labor Lawyer Elected DA in Austin

Many readers of Payday Report know of the advocacy work of José Garza, the long time counsel for the Workers Defense Project in Texas. Yesterday, Garza was elected as District Attorney of Austin and has pledged to use the office to crack down on abusive employers. 

A former federal public defender, Garza vowed to also use his office to reform criminal justice sentencing in the county.

“For at least 100 years in this country, we’ve been hiring and electing career prosecutors to run district attorneys’ offices,” Garza said in a statement last night. “We’ve seen the result of that practice, which is gross disparities in our criminal justice system.”

For more, go to the Austin-American Statesman

Arizona Passes Ballot Measure to Raise Teachers Salary

In 2018, Payday traveled to Arizona to cover the first-ever statewide teachers’ strike in the state. 

After teachers won the strike, the Governor of Arizona promised to raise teachers’ salaries. However, the raises were eventually defunded by the state legislature in Arizona. 

In a show of growing support for the teachers union in the state, the state passed Proposition 208 by a margin of 52% – 47% with 85% of the vote counted. The measure would raise salaries by placing a 3.5% surcharge on incomes over $250,000. 

“Voters agree that strong schools mean a strong economy,” Rebecca Gau, executive director of Stand For Children told the Arizona Republic.

For more, check out the Arizona Republic. 

After spending $200 million, Uber & Lyft Get Exemption from Minimum Wage Law in California 

While labor won sweeping victories in ballot measures across the country yesterday, labor appears to have lost Prop 22 in California. Prop 22 would permanently exempt Uber and Lyft drivers from minimum wage and other labor laws in the state. 

Uber, Lyft, and other app companies spent well over $200 million to pass the ballot measure and used their apps to push deceptive messaging arguing that Prop 22 would benefit rideshare and delivery drivers. Exit polling showed that 40% of people that voted for Prop 22 believed that Prop 22 would raise workers’ salaries. 

Lyft celebrated the defeat of the workers right’s group by stating they planned to use Prop 22 as model legislation to get other states to permanently exempt rideshare and delivery drivers from workplace laws. 

“California’s new law is groundbreaking toward the creation of “third way” that recognizes independent workers in the U.S., called for by legislators, policymakers, labor leaders, and policy think tanks for years,” Lyft said in a statement. 

Ok, folks, I gotta go run to the Allegheny County Courthouse to cover a protest to count the votes here in PA. 

Donate today so we can keep covering the fight to count the votes here in Pennsylvania. 

And don’t forget that the best way to support us is to sign up as a recurring donor. 

Melk

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is a yinzer labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: Melk@PaydayReport.com

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