“Minimum Wage Should be a Living Wage”

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At Vancouver’s biggest mall today, Meena Wong, COPE candidate for mayor, announced a key plank in the party’s plan to combat income inequality in Vancouver.

“I’m standing before you now to say this loud and clear: Vancouver needs a raise. Now, I don’t mean that City Councilors need a raise. In February of this year, the Mayor and City Councilors gave themselves a raise. And I don’t mean that the city’s communications department needs a raise. It came out last week they’re already getting $1.6 million. And for sure the property developers in this city don’t need a raise. They are making record profits under Vision Vancouver’s government,” said Meena Wong.

“I’m standing before here today to say that the people of Vancouver need a raise. Especially those who work the hardest and get paid the least. Hospitality workers, retail and food workers, caregivers, and more. These people are often women, people of colour, immigrants, indigenous people and students.”

Wong detailed COPE’s plans for implementing a Living Wage. Leading the way, a COPE government will institute a Living Wage as the minimum standard for those directly employed by the City of Vancouver.

Next, contractors will also be required to meet the Living Wage in order to qualify for City of Vancouver contracts. They will also have to meet unionization and Fair Wage requirements.

COPE will seek an amendment to the Vancouver Charter giving the City the power to set a local minimum wage. The provincial minimum wage is only half of a Living Wage in Vancouver, contributing to the growing inequalities that make the city unaffordable. Where the province has failed, COPE will lead.

The next phase will focus on big box stores and chains. Most small businesses want to pay their employees well, but they are undercut by big businesses that pay low wages. COPE will work with other municipalities to institute a Living Wage across Metro Vancouver, lessening the chance of stores relocating to avoid paying their employees a fair wage.

The Seattle experience demonstrates that with the support of residents, city governments can take a stand to support working people and to bring low wage workers out of poverty.

In Seattle last year, Kshama Sawant was elected to Seattle City Council on a platform of winning a $15/hour minimum wage. Sawant unseated the incumbent Democrat and now Seattle is implementing a $15/hour minimum wage, which will rise with inflation.

Councillor Sawant is coming to Vancouver this weekend, and she will be giving the keynote speech at COPE’s event this Saturday. Sawant is here to say, “if we gave Seattle a raise, you can give Vancouver a raise too!”

Seattle City Councillor, Kshama Sawant, will be speaking Saturday September 27th, 7:00pm at the Maritime Labour Centre, on that city’s successful fight for $15/hour. Tickets available here: www.cope.bc.ca/kshamasawant.

Introducing COPE’s 2014 Team!

On Sunday, September 7th, 2014 COPE members came together at the Japanese Hall and selected COPE’s 2014 election team.

After voting overwhelmingly in favour of running a mayoral candidate at our Policy Conference in March, Meena Wong is COPE’s candidate for Mayor!

Support Meena for Mayor!

Our City Council candidates are Tim Louis, Sid Chow Tan, Audrey Siegl (sχɬemtəna:t), Gayle Gavin, Lisa Barrett, Keith Higgins, and Jennifer O’Keeffe.

(Wilson Munoz and John Yano tied for the 8th council position, and a decision will be announced soon.)

For School Board, Diana Day, Ilana Shecter, Ralph Fraatz, Heidi Nagtegaal, and Kombii Nanjalah will be running.

Anita Romaniuk, Urooba Jamal, Imtiaz Popat, Ezra Bloom will be running for Park Board.

Can we count on your support for our candidates? We’ve been waiting for three years to bring our issues and our solutions to City Hall. The fight is just starting. We need your energy, your vote, your time and your money.

The biggest campaign contributors in Vancouver are real estate development corporations and the people who run them. We don’t take their money. Other parties in Vancouver do.

Their supporters pay $25,000 for lunch. Or make million dollar donations.

The working people of Vancouver deserve representation.

The election season starts now. Are you in?

Equity Conference Update

Equity Conference Update

On Sunday June 29th, 2014, the Coalition of Progressive Electors held its first ever Equity Conference. Responding to direction from the general membership, COPE members organized a conference where members of traditionally marginalized groups formed caucuses and voted for representatives to the general Executive Board.

“This was a milestone conference where we chose three aboriginal people to serve on the COPE executive for the first time in COPE history,” said Imtiaz Popat, the new incoming “Racialized Caucus” representative. “This speaks to our commitment to become representative of the diversity of people who live in Vancouver.”