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One Fair Wage exists for a simple purpose: to ensure that everyone — even tipped staff — receive a fair wage for their labors. 

In 2018 they launched a Relational Organizing campaign to get an initiative on Michigan’s ballot designed to do just that. They collected 400,000 signatures, changed the law for Michigan’s tipped workers and in the process earned a cover story on Time Magazine.

They took their 2018 successes and doubled down in 2020. This past year, One Fair Wage amplified their RO program, mobilizing thousands of low-wage service workers across MI and PA, bringing countless new voters into the process for the first time.

Throughout this campaign, One Fair Wage and One Fair Wage Action:

  • Emailed, called and texted 228,316 service workers who had applied to the One Fair Wage COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to vote, 66% of whom had never voted before! They were able to engage them by focusing on their wages as a reason to vote;

  • Developed nearly 1,500 worker leaders in Pennsylvania and Michigan to each mobilize dozens of their peers to vote through our peer-to-peer voter app, Empower;

  • Through this peer-to-peer voter engagement program, contacted nearly 45,000 low-wage worker unlikely voters to vote in MI and PA in this election cycle.

They began 2020 with the working theory that mobilizing low-propensity voters through the One Fair Wage campaign would yield high results for their Relational Voter Program. What they learned throughout this complicated and trying year was that tying the OFW Emergency Fund to organizing their applicants actually provided them with a stronger level of engagement and good-will to continue building political power for the long-term. 

In September 2020, they hired 25 unemployed service workers and trained them to call their peers in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida. This program turned out to be amazingly successful – they were able to identify about 1500 worker leaders out of a list of around 10,000 OFW applicants in MI and PA and these 1500 leaders inputted a total of about 25,000 contacts into the Empower App. Combined with the approximately 18,000 contacts who were in the app from their Relational voter program in 2018 in Michigan, they ultimately reached about 43,000 unlikely low-wage worker voter contacts through their Relational Organizing efforts. 

All of these individuals were messaged weekly by their peers encouraging them to vote as a way to raise their wages. As an organization, One Fair Wage also sent regular emails encouraging their full national list of nearly a quarter-million workers to vote. In all of this work, they focused on encouraging workers to tell their peers to ‘vote themselves a raise.’ 

Their campaign was so successful that their signature issue has become part of President-elect Biden’s policy initiatives, working towards raising the minimum wage to $15 for all workers, including tipped workers.

Never one to let up in the face of victory, they are now turning their attention to the special elections in Georgia, as well as to upcoming elections in CO, VA and NJ.

Learn more about them and their work at onefairwage.site.