Young workers who are stuck in low-wage positions have taken a more active role in protests and advocacy initiatives to increase the living wage.
In the past year, millennials have put increased pressure on low wage job providers to increase the minimum wage.
Some achieved a measure of success. Debbra Alexis, a 27-year-old Victoria’s Secret employee with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, gathered more than 800 signatures in support of her campaign for higher pay at her New York City store. The store, part of L Brands (LB), ended up giving across-the-board raises of about $1 to $2 per hour to all workers in the Herald Square store.
A group of Kaplan tutors in New York City also formed a union to bargain for higher pay.
Some fast food workers wrangled wage increases or better hours. But union-organized rallies are calling for broad-based change and minimum wages of $15. Wal-Mart workers nationwide have also protested, calling for higher pay and more hours.
The number of college graduates in minimum wage positions doubled during the recession to 284,000 in 2012 from 2007.
Some 58 percent of the jobs created during the recent economic recovery have been low-wage positions like retail and food prep workers according to a report by the National Employment Law Project.
The median hourly wage for these positions is $13.83 or less.
Will the increased presence of young workers in the fight for higher wages affect the movement?
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