Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for June 16: Fight for Fifteen!

Coming up this week: pointing toward the June 21 Montgomery County Council meeting and the push to include tipped workers in the Fight for Fifteen, a $15/hr minimum wage. Plus links to recent blog posts.

Welcome to the Progressive Maryland weekly memo for June 14 – a look at the week ahead, and more…

A hearing is set before the Montgomery County Council June 21 on a package of increases to the county’s minimum wage. A successful PM meeting last week set activists on course to make that hearing and represent in favor of a $15 per hour minimum wage – including tipped workers.

Last week the DC Council and Mayor OKed a partial victory on including tipped workers in a future minimum wage increase. Montgomery now seems headed for a similar two-tier increase, with tipped workers’ minimum set lower, but PM activists plan to push for $15 per hour for all. DC’s move raises tipped workers’ minimum from the current, pathetic $2.77 per hour to $5 by 2020 but we can do better than that. Plan now to go to the June 21 public hearing before the Montgomery County Council.

By organizing our members throughout the county, we helped pass paid sick leave last summer, improved wage enforcement, and now we're going to make sure every Montgomery County worker is paid a fair living wage. 

In Montgomery, tipped workers currently only receive a substandard minimum wage of $4.00 per hour and must make up the rest in tips which may fluctuate wildly based on individual customers, the shifts assigned, or even the weather outside.

Women make up 60% of all tipped workers and 70% of servers, so the current tip structure serves as legal wage inequity. Furthermore, 90% of women working as servers report being sexually harassed by customers and two-thirds experienced sexual harassment from a supervisor. Many feel pressured to sexualize themselves on the job to increase tips.

 Sign the petition to urge the Council to include tipped workers.

Our successful meeting of Progressive Prince George’s, also last week, tackled an agenda driven by the participants and focused on neighborhood issues such as Walmart intrusions; continued efforts on police reforms; the rewrite of the zoning code and planning documents and how to keep them pro-people; and particularly environmental justice and power plant and (threatened) incinerator siting. That’s what our activist members have been talking about, so that’s what Progressive Maryland prioritizes.

National action: some Progressive Maryland activists are attending this weekend’s “People’s Summit,” a get-together to make the progressive energy and program that grew around the Bernie Sanders primary campaign sustainable during and after the presidential campaign and election. This blog will have reports on that event and its lessons for Maryland progressive forces.

AND IN CASE YOU MISSED THEM, we posted these blogs in the previous week:

The crushing news from Orlando brought a reminder of the intersection of hate speech and the Wild West access to lethal weapons (thanks to the NRA and others) and what can be done to change that disruptive combination.

Both last week’s Weekly Memo and a special alert about the Progressive Prince George’s membership meeting keyed the week’s activities.

And these blog posts ran recently:

NEW PAYDAY LENDING RULES WILL CUT PREDATORY EXPLOITATION OF LOW INCOME WORKERS --New rules proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Board handcuff predatory lenders who made short-term loans that couldn't be repaid and had to be rolled over. That's the sleazy business model that made these predators huge profits at the expense of working families.

LOCAL CLEAN ENERGY BRINGS SOCIAL JUSTICE FORWARD -- A community solar advocate describes Maryland's new availability, through recent state law and Public Service Commission regulation, of low-cost home solar power for many households for which it was previously out of reach.

Stick with Progressive Maryland to stay informed, and with our Facebook page to stay updated as the primary election approaches. As always, the hard day to day work of citizenship and fighting for ordinary people is on the table. Power yields nothing without a demand, Frederick Douglass said, and being organized gives us power to fight back.

AND REMEMBER THIS BLOGSPACE IS FOR THE PROGRESSIVE VOICES OF MARYLAND. Want to include your voice? Send a submission, or questions, to the moderator at