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The Video that Frightened the Chamber

On May Day, 2015 (05/01/2015), a coalition of trade unionists, community groups, and low-wage workers organized a traditional International Workers Day march and rally. There were many excellent speakers. One such speaker was Mike Ladd, a 15 Now Tacoma volunteer. The crowd enthusiastically received Mike’s speech. Another 15 Now Tacoma volunteer made a video of it and uploaded it to YouTube.

However, the video failed to wow members of the local Chamber of Commerce (CoC). It dawned on the Chamber a few months ago that Tacoma’s low-wage workers meant business about getting a fair wage. They also realized a sizable percentage of Tacoma’s voters support Proposition 1, a ballot initiative that will raise the minimum wage immediately to $15/hour—with NO phase in. Here is the video that the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want you to see.

The CoC held a meeting to plan a way of sticking a wrench into Prop 1’s spokes. At their meeting, they featured this video to energize the CoC attendees into action. Apparently, Mike’s eloquent demand for justice frightened them out of their wits.

The Chamber’s President and CEO Tom Pierson also began attacking 15 Now Tacoma in the press. He claims that we’re a group of extremist outside agitators threatening Tacoma’s economy. This is a classically crude attempt to distract attention from the real issue—poverty wages. President Pierson would rather focus the discussion on the paranoid delusion that 15 Now Tacoma volunteers are a gaggle of radicals being directed from outside Tacoma.

For example, according to The News Tribune of May 12, 2015, here’s what President Pierson says about us. We’re “an outside group coming in and telling employees and employers what’s best for Tacoma.” Mr. Pierson himself lives outside of Tacoma, and the majority of 15 Now Tacoma volunteers are long-term Tacomans, mostly low-income workers or retired.

We in 15 Now Tacoma march to our own drums, and we don’t take our marching orders from any outside commissariat.

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