Calls for Officials to Adopt Resolution in Favor of Raising Minimum Wage
More than 600 voters in Portsmouth on Tuesday signed a petition in support of raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020. The petition effort was led by Fight for $15 NH, a group that includes many SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members.
While communities around the country continue to take action to raise the minimum wage, efforts to do so here in New Hampshire have stalled. In fact, just a few years ago, lawmakers repealed our minimum wage, meaning we default to the federal minimum. With this partisan gridlock in mind, members of the Fight for $15 movement in New Hampshire decided to take a different tack: building support at the community level.
“The petition called for the mayor and City Council to put forward a resolution that the minimum wage should be at least $15 by 2020,” said Cindy Perkins, the chair of the SEA/SEIU Local 1984’s Fight for $15 Committee. “In order to get the petition before the City Council, we need to have 10 percent of the people who voted.”
Several SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members took time out of their day to gather signatures, including Perkins, Judi and Jyanna Brideau, Jonathan Hallet and Joan Hamblett. Judi Brideau said she and her daughter Jyanna were out collecting signatures the entire day. It was a new experience for each of them.
“I’ve never done anything like that before,” Brideau said. “A lot of people were very receptive to it.”
Though organizers didn’t expect to collect enough signatures on Tuesday, it appears they got more than enough. Portsmouth reported 4,673 ballots were cast, meaning 467 signatures were needed. The next step would be to present the petitions to the city of Portsmouth, which would then certify whether all signers were registered voters. Brideau said the group would keep working to spread awareness of the movement.
“We need to find ways to get people educated,” she said.
You can find the Fight for $15 NH on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FightFor15NH.