Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, along with 18 others, sent a letter to President Obama this week urging him to use executive action to raise the minimum wage and support the Fight for $15 labor movement. All of the senators are Democrats, except for Sanders, who is a self-proclaimed "Democratic-Socialist."
“Mr. President, the stroke of your pen can have transformative impact for millions of workers,” the letter reads. “As low-wage fast food, retail and federal contract workers continue to strike in growing numbers to 'Fight for $15 and a Union,' we urge you to harness the power of the presidency to help these workers achieve the American Dream."
Other senators who signed the letter include Dick Durbin of Illinois, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ben Cardin of Maryland, and Al Franken of Minnesota.
President Obama has issued executive orders in the recent past that raised wages for workers under federal contracts, including one that set a $10.10 minimum wage. In their letter, the senators called on Obama to “build further on that momentum,” adding that the federal government should “invest our taxpayer dollars to incentivize model employers that commit to creating good jobs and to rebuilding America's ailing middle class."
The Fight for $15 movement is a coalition that began three years ago and has resulted in protests throughout the nation as workers bring light to the issue of low wages. Good Jobs Nation spokesman Paco Fabian said that any Democrat running for President in 2016 should take the letter seriously.
“For the first time a group of U.S. Senators are demonstrating strong support for low wage workers trying to improve their working conditions by proposing a realistic solution,” Fabian said in a statement. “The federal government's role regarding economic inequality is clear. The question is which candidates for President plan to propose common sense solutions? This letter provides part of the answer."