TUCSON, Ariz. — The campaign organizers for Tucson Fight for $15 delivered more than 29,000 signatures to the City of Tucson’s clerk's office Friday; officially qualifying for the November ballot.
“Not only am I understanding the effects of the low minimum wage, because I make it, but I also see the effects in the families I work with every day,” said Rachel Cummings, a campaign volunteer for Tucson Fight for $15.
“Tucson’s has one of the fastest-growing rents and housing costs in the country. Tucson is the second poorest city in the southwestern United States, as measured by per capita income,” said Billy Peard, the co-author and co-organizer of Tucson Fight for $15.
Peard says rent is outpacing the cost of goods and services by almost four times.
“There’s simply no way that a family, or even an individual without children, can pay a one-bedroom apartment these days on the current minimum wage of $12.15,” said Peard.
Tucson Fight for $15’s bill would gradually increase the $12.15 minimum wage to $15 by January 2025, for those working in the city of Tucson.
“Regardless of where a person lives. If a person lives, for example, in Marana, but commutes into the city everyday for work; they are protected under our plan. But the opposite is not true. So if a person lives in Tucson but communities out to Marana, in that example because they’re working in Marana, that’s not covered,” said Peard.
The idea and the coalition formed two years ago and boots were on the ground for four months collecting signatures. A minimum of about 14,800 was needed, and Tucson Fight for $15 roughly doubled that number with the signatures it collected.
Peard says phase one, qualifying for the ballot is now complete. Up next is phase two, talking to voters.
“Encouraging them, one, to vote in the first place. And number two, why they should cast their vote ‘yes’ on this proposition to raise the minimum wage. We’re going to have a lively, spirited debate, I’m sure, in this community,” said Peard.
Tucson Fight for $15 will witness the clerk's office vet the signatures on July 8. After that, they’ll have a verified number of signatures.