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FFLW Post Launch Press Release

3/11/24, 7:00 PM

Bill Meade



January 15, 2024

CONTACT: Dianne Price

Media Relations


Arizona man launches Fight for a Living Wage

Mesa’s worker-directed Beanchain Coffee shop hosts the event

Mesa, Ariz. – Bill Meade has had it with the ever-increasing wealth gap in the United States. Watching his own millennial children struggle – along with people everywhere – he is dedicating what he calls “the last quarter” of his life to narrowing that gap.

“Today, with the help of a small team and the talents and example of Beanchain’s  founder David Baxter, we are officially launching a nonprofit organization called Fight for a Living Wage – a living wage; not a minimum wage; not a fair wage, but the kind of income that allows American families to live with comfort, dignity and opportunity."

“I don't have to tell you that too many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck,” he said. “Here is a number that might shock you: did you know that some 52% of young adults are living with their parents today? That's higher than the 48% of young people who lived with their parents at the end of the Great Depression!"

Meade recounted his start as a card-carrying union member and his eventual rise to become the CEO of a publicly traded company, to a small, engaged audience that included small business owners interested in joining the living wage movement.

“My company had explosive growth, but much of that success was built on low-paid employees,” he said. “It was profits over people as the focus increasingly became to move jobs to the lowest cost market. The way I see it we are heading in the wrong direction and spiraling downward at a rapid rate.

Meade explained that Fight for a Living Wage (FFLW) is not a political organization.

“We're not Democrats; we're not Republicans; we're not independents; we're not left; we're not right,” he said. “We will stand up for all Americans. It's the only way we can create change and win in the long run.”

A living wage is the amount of money a person needs for food, shelter, healthcare, childcare and education, and a small savings for unexpected expenses. A study by Amy K. Glasmeler indicates that for a family of four in Arizona with two working adults and two children, the living wage is $24 an hour – or $81,307.

“Some 11 million children in the U.S. go to bed each night not knowing if there will be breakfast, even though in some cases, their parents might be working two to three jobs,” he said. According to Feeding America, almost 270,000 children in Arizona face the same fear, and almost 130,000 Arizona seniors are considered food insecure.*

Meade identified Beanchain founders David and Shannon Baxter as an example of how to take action. The Baxters launched their worker-directed business only seven months ago with the goal of engaging employees in decision-making and paying a living wage.

“Our dream grew out of my own experience as a person who had worked hard for many years to pull myself up out of poverty,” said David Baxter. “When your support and resources are slim, this is nearly impossible.” A living wage is the amount of money a person needs for food, shelter, healthcare, childcare and education, and a small savings for unexpected expenses.

“At Beanchain, we expect to provide dedicated employees with profit-sharing and equity in the company. “We have created a shared work set-up, open to the community, with three offices and a conference room – as a way to inspire and assist budding entrepreneurs and jobseekers to learn from one another.

“Arizona’s minimum wage (raised by 50 cents on January 1, 2024) of $14.35 doesn’t even come close to providing families with a basic standard of living,” said Meade. Meade’s plan is to trial new strategies in Arizona, with the intention of sharing a living wage toolbox with people and organizations in other states.

Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap 2020  

Fight for a Living Wage

Fight for a Living Wage is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that will align with people and organizations across the United States to kick-start a movement aimed at reducing the ever-increasing income gap between the wealthy and the poor. Launched in Arizona in January 2024, Fight for a Living Wage focuses squarely on a “living wage” – as opposed to a “minimum wage” or “fair wage,” neither of which afford Americans dignity or financial security. If we don’t address this now, we risk leaving our children and grandchildren in a world without hope or access to the American Dream. Contact:  303-324-3069. NOTE THAT BILL IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS NOW – AND IN THE FUTURE – ON ISSUES OF FINANCIAL INSECURITY AND CLOSING THE POVERTY GAP.

Beanchain Coffee

Beanchain Coffee, located at 1110 W. Southern Ave. #8, Mesa, Arizona, is more than a coffee shop. It represents an opportunity for individuals to gain ownership and financial security. Founder David Baxter has designed the business to be an organization that is worker-owned  and worker-directed. In addition to its offerings of beverages and pastries, it includes a shared workspace, a conference room and workshops open to the community.  Contact:  480-307-6503.

Photo credit: Dianne Price

January 13, 2024 - Fight for a Living Wage Founder and Executive Director Bill Meade, discusses his motivation to mobilize people in Arizona and the U.S. to address economic injustice.

Photo credit: Dianne Price

January 13, 2024 - Bill Meade, founder and executive director of Fight for a Living Wage, discusses ways in which small business owners can join the movement to compensate workers with enough resources to live with comfort, dignity and opportunity.

Photo credit: Dianne Price

January 13, 2024 - Beanchain Coffee Co-founder David Baxter explains his commitment to create a worker-directed company, an idea that grew from his personal experience of living in poverty.

Photo credit: Dianne Price

January 13, 2024 - Beanchain Founder David Baxter, at his location at 1110 W. Southern, Mesa, Arizona, encourages others to join the movement to advocate for living wages.

Photo credit: Dianne Price

January 13, 2024 - (From left to right) Beanchain Coffee is a family affair. Judy Leckie, Shannon Baxter and David Baxter offer a welcoming and entrepreneurial space, good food and coffee at at 1110 W. Southern Ave., Mesa, while creating a worker-directed business. Leckie is Shannon’s mother.

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