Regardless of how you feel about this week's election results overall, there’s no doubt that when voters got a chance to decide on working family issues, we won big. We won on minimum wage, paid sick days, mass transit, and democracy. We also achieved important gains in criminal justice reform and healthcare reform. Across our network, our affiliates organized hundreds of thousands of voters around key issues that concretely impact our lives.
Voters passed paid sick days in Massachusetts; Oakland, CA; Montclair, NJ; and Trenton, NJ, guaranteeing paid sick days to a million more workers. Voters raised the minimum wage in Alaska; Arkansas; Nebraska; South Dakota; and Oakland and San Francisco, CA, giving a raise to over 600,000 workers. Congratulations to our affiliate EBASE on passing Measure FF. A landslide of 81% of Oakland voters voted YES to raise the minimum wage to $12.25 with 5–9 paid sick days so that 48,000 families can put food on the table and 57,000 workers can stay home when they are sick without losing wages. In Wisconsin and Illinois, voters approved non-binding referenda, instructing their legislators to raise the wage for another 1.1 million workers. Congratulations to our affiliate Citizen Action Wisconsin, who mobilized 67% of the vote in 13 localities.
Voters passed important public transit measures across the country. Congratulations to our affiliate Georgia Stand Up!, who played a leading role bringing mass transit back to Clayton County for working families and students. This victory signals a new wave of transit and economic development for the Atlanta region. Congratulations to our affiliate Puget Sound Sage, who was a big supporter of Seattle Transit Proposition 1, which passed with almost 60% of the vote to fund more transit service on over 70 chronically-overcrowded and unreliable bus routes serving transit-dependent neighborhoods in Seattle.
Voters supported measures to advance democracy in key cities. Congratulations to our affiliate OCCORD, who won Measures L and M to increase democratic representation in Anaheim, CA by creating district elections and expanding the city council.
Californians passed one of the most significant reforms in the state’s broken criminal justice system. Congratulations to our California affiliates CAUSE, EBASE, LAANE, and WPUSA, who partnered with California Calls to talk with tens of thousands of voters to pass Prop 47. As CAUSE noted, “California is choosing to invest in schools instead of prisons and prioritizing mental health and drug rehabilitation services rather than locking people up for years for drug possession, shoplifting or writing a bad check.”
Wisconsinites overwhelmingly supported the BadgerCare referendum showing that the public wants Governor Walker and the new Legislature to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the health care reform law to expand access to affordable health coverage to moderate income families. Congratulations to our affiliate Citizen Action Wisconsin on this victory.
The Partnership for Working Families and our affiliates are proving that change can be made from the roots of our cities upwards, and we’ll continue organizing in our communities year-round and between elections.
Nikki Fortunato Bas
- CAUSE | Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy
- Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund
- EBASE | East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
- GA STAND-UP | Georgia Strategic Alliance for New Directions and Unified Policies
- LAANE | Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy
- OCCORD | Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development
- Puget Sound Sage
- WPUSA | Working Partnerships USA