In the fall of 2014, UPM youth members joined the Lift Up Oakland Coalition to help pass Measure FF and raise Oakland’s minimum wage from $9 an hour to $12.25. Measure FF passed with a resounding 81.7% of the vote demonstrating overwhelming support for a fair wage that better reflects the rising cost of living in Oakland. UPM members helped gather signatures, knocked on doors, and hosted their own public awareness rally in the heart of the busy Fruitvale district.
Measure FF gave 48,000 workers a raise and provided paid sick days for an estimated 56,700 workers. While Oakland is becoming a much more attractive destination for tourists and the bourgeoning tech industry, the unequal income gap between newcomers and long time residents is growing. When jobs fail to provide a livable wage, the underground street economy ends up being the only choice to survive. This creates a situation where our city’s most vulnerable residents are exposed to higher rates of violence. Raising the wage for low-income families and increasing economic opportunity is a step toward a more peaceful Oakland community.