Podcast: Fight for $15 in a Right-to-Work State (video)

Rep. PPH Podcast

Forty years ago, in the fall of 1981, when I told my Dad that I was leaving Ohio and moving to Arizona, the first words out of his mouth were, “Well, you know Arizona is a ‘right to work state,’ don’t cha? That means ‘right to work for less.’”

I grew up in a union household. Dad was a Steelworker for most of his work life. During the 1960s and early 1970s, he was in the thick of the struggle for better wages, better benefits, and better working conditions for factory workers in Northern Ohio. Technically, I knew what “right to work state” meant, but at the time, I had no idea how moving to a right to work state would affect my career and my children’s future opportunities.

My last job in Columbus was as a professional photographer working for a swanky graphic and product design agency. (It was a really cool place to work, and over the last 40 years, particularly when I a wage slave at the University of Arizona, I often wonder why I left!)

At my first job interview in Tucson at a much smaller advertising and graphic design agency, the owner asked about my salary history. I had more than six years of experience in design, photography, and printing production. I told him that I was making $8 per hour in Columbus (and as far as I was concerned, I was worth every penny!) He literally laughed in my face and said, “You’ll never make that kind of money here in Tucson!”

At $8 an hour, I was making more than twice the federal minimum wage $3.35 per hour. I was 30 years old. I had a college degree that was paid for. (Thanks to Mom and Dad and Dad’s union wages.) I could afford to rent a trendy apartment that space for a darkroom in downtown Columbus. I owned my own car, expensive camera equipment, and lots funky furniture and vintage collectables. At $8 per hour, I was a financially independent single woman with no debt, and I was not taking any money from my parents or the government. Although I was never eligible to be in a union, I was making a living wage in a state that was heavily unionized.

Although rent, utilities and food in Tucson were comparable to Columbus, that employer offered me just over $4 per hour. The best offer I got back in 1981 was $6 per hour from the Amphi School System. I didn’t take either offer and freelanced for a year.   Early on, I learned about Arizona’s heftiest tax—The Sunshine Tax. Millions of people like me traded in their snow shovels and heavy coats for sunshine when we moved to Arizona. Unfortunately, many of us transplants didn’t realize that Arizona’s sunshine came with a stiff tax – significantly lower wages—also known as the right to work for less.

At $8 an hour, I was making more than twice the federal minimum wage $3.35 per hour. I was 30 years old. I had a college degree that was paid for. (Thanks to Mom and Dad and Dad’s union wages.) I could afford to rent a trendy apartment that space for a darkroom in downtown Columbus. I owned my own car, expensive camera equipment, and lots funky furniture and vintage collectables. At $8 per hour, I was a financially independent single woman with no debt, and I was not taking any money from my parents or the government. Although I was never eligible to be in a union, I was making a living wage in a state that was heavily unionized.

Although rent, utilities and food in Tucson were comparable to Columbus, that employer offered me just over $4 per hour. The best offer I got back in 1981 was $6 per hour from the Amphi School System. I didn’t take either offer and freelanced for a year.   Early on, I learned about Arizona’s heftiest tax—The Sunshine Tax. Millions of people like me traded in their snow shovels and heavy coats for sunshine when we moved to Arizona. Unfortunately, many of us transplants didn’t realize that Arizona’s sunshine came with a stiff tax – significantly lower wages—also known as the right to work for less.

At $8 an hour, I was making more than twice the federal minimum wage $3.35 per hour. I was 30 years old. I had a college degree that was paid for. (Thanks to Mom and Dad and Dad’s union wages.) I could afford to rent a trendy apartment that space for a darkroom in downtown Columbus. I owned my own car, expensive camera equipment, and lots funky furniture and vintage collectables. At $8 per hour, I was a financially independent single woman with no debt, and I was not taking any money from my parents or the government. Although I was never eligible to be in a union, I was making a living wage in a state that was heavily unionized.

Although rent, utilities and food in Tucson were comparable to Columbus, that employer offered me just over $4 per hour. The best offer I got back in 1981 was $6 per hour from the Amphi School System. I didn’t take either offer and freelanced for a year.

Early on, I learned about Arizona’s heftiest tax—The Sunshine Tax. Millions of people like me traded in their snow shovels and heavy coats for sunshine when we moved to Arizona. Unfortunately, many of us transplants didn’t realize that Arizona’s sunshine came with a stiff tax – significantly lower wages—also known as the right to work for less.Tucson has a local election on Nov. 2, 2021. If you are on the Permanent Early Voting List (also known as PEVL), you should have received your ballot in the mail. The ballot includes candidates for three City Council seats and two propositions.

Prop 206 is Tucson’s Fight for $15 Citizens Initiative. It raises the local Tucson minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025 and includes worker protections. My guest today is C.J. Boyd, the campaign manager for Tucson Fight for $15. He details the initiative and talks about Flagstaff’s trailblazing $15 per hour minimum wage and their battle with the state. Republican Legislators would have us believe that Flagstaff’s economy is in shambles because the people voted to raise the minimum wage. I was in Flagstaff in September for an outdoor music festival, and it was hopping with economic vitality. Don’t forget to vote!Interview

My podcast is available in podcast format through several services like Spotify, Stitcher Radio, I Heart Radio and others. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and get the podcast, along with my other updates.

Fight for $15 in a Right-to-Work State A View from the Left Side

"Ya know Arizona is a right-to-work state. Don't'cha? The right to work for less," my Dad warned me, 40 years ago when I moved to Tucson in the fall of 1981. Back in 1981, I knew what right to work meant, but I didn't realize how anti-union, right-to-work laws suppress wages for everyone. I also had no idea how moving from a highly unionized state to a right-to-work state would impact my career, my future wages and my children's opportunities to make a living wage.  Thank goodness that voters in low-wage states like Arizona can take matters into their own hands through Citizens Initiative when the state Legislature fails to act OR when the Legislature passes laws that outwardly attack workers and local jurisdictions that attempt reforms.In this Episode of A View from the Left Side, you will learn about efforts in Tucson and Flagstaff to raise the local minimum wage to $15 per hour and efforts by Republican Legislators to stop local voters from improving the local economy by raising the wage..My guest is C.J. Boyd who is campaign manager for Tucson Fight for $15, which is on the Nov. 2, 2021 ballot. If you are on the Permanent Early Voting List (PVEL), you should have received your ballot in the mail.In this episode, Boyd explains the Tucson citizen's initiative to raise the wage to $15 by 2025 and the worker protections that are also included in this ballot proposition.Time Stamp"PPH Commentary 0:19 ""Interview with C.J. Boyd 6:11 ""Tucson Fight for $15 Explained 6:42 ""Worker Protections 7:48 ""Worker Schedules 9:00 ""Wage Theft Is Biggest Type of Theft in US 9:58 ""Chamber of Commerce Fighting Labor Standards and Enforcement 10:57 ""More Wage Theft 12:40 ""Local Small Businesses 15:12 "Flagstaff $15 Minimum Wage & State Retaliation 17:35"State Law Says Cities & Counties Can Raise Local Minimum Wage 20:27 ""What about Pima County? 23:11 "Who Will Be Helped by Prop 206? 25:20Tip Workers 26:08

Podcast Topic Time Stamps

PPH Commentary 0:19

Interview with C.J. Boyd 6:11

Tucson Fight for $15 Explained 6:42

Worker Protections 7:48

Worker Schedules 9:00

Wage Theft Is Biggest Type of Theft in US 9:58

Chamber of Commerce Fighting Labor Standards and Enforcement 10:57

More Wage Theft 12:40

Local Small Businesses 15:12

Flagstaff $15 Minimum Wage & State Retaliation 17:35

State Law Says Cities & Counties Can Raise Local Minimum Wage 20:27

What about Pima County? 23:11

Who Will Be Helped by Prop 206? 25:20

Tip Workers 26:08