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Readers Respond

Hopkins workers shouldn't have to wait for $15 an hour [Letter]

I don't live in Baltimore, but I have been following the workers' struggle at Hopkins closely. A $15 per hour minimum wage is a no brainer in today's world ("A win-win for Hopkins," July 8). People often use the "small business" red herring to really say that working people are asking for too much when they ask for $15. But Hopkins isn't a small business, so that isn't plausible at all, at least not here. The author admits that Ronald Peterson, president of Hopkins, made over $15 million this past year, but worries about passing on costs to the consumer. Let's all try to imagine a world in which workers make more, consumers' costs are the same (or maybe even lowered!), and bosses make less. Isn't that a win for all of us? I think Dr. Peterson would still be able to sleep fine making a few million less, don't you? We have been surviving on much less for far too long.

Workers all over this country are standing up for a living wage. I applaud SEIU Healthcare 1199 for their efforts in this fight, but I also believe that accepting anything less than $15 for all Johns Hopkins workers right now is a compromise we cannot afford. Bargaining is an important part of the labor movement, but so is striking. If we compromise too much they can whittle us down weaker and weaker until we forget what we asked for and forget what we really deserve. We are strong — stronger together — and the minimum we deserve is $15. If paying people a living wage is "not a realistic goal," then we need to re-think our priorities, and re-think our economy.

Mindy Isser, Philadelphia

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