Fight For $15 Workers Protest Poverty Wages Worldwide

Annette Bernhardt photograph, Creative Commons.

Workers Independent News is heard Monday through Friday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Workers Independent News is heard Monday through Friday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

The “Fight For $15” movement took it to the streets in 300 cities Thursday in the largest ever day of strikes and protests demanding a higher wage and a union. Fast food worker Angel Mitchell says realities faced by workers are fueling this movement.

“We’re still making poverty wages. We go to work every single day, and we deserve to be able to pay our lights, our gas. Our children deserve to have food on the table. So we’re in three hundred U.S. cities, 40 different countries on six different continents around the world. All of us are striking because it’s important.”

Solo Littlejohn says the union is just as vital as the $15 an hour.

“Doing a lot of these rallies and learning what a union is and finding out the importance of having a union (is) my reason for being here today.”

Workers Have the Power To Drive Politics With Our Agenda

AFL-CIO Vice President Tefere Gebre says for working people to win in this political year we must make sure our agenda drives politics rather than the agenda being politically driven.

Gebre says that means making raising wages front and center. It means not settling for just $15 an hour, but $15 and a union. And it means strong worker solidarity and collective action.

“If everybody realizes that the power is within them and instead of just talking about things they start conspiring about things, I’m very very hopeful that—from the movement for black lives to the not one more movement to the Fight For $15 and a union—I am seeing people taking it out on the street and that’s how a movement is being built. I’m confident—if everybody who is listening to this and if everybody who hears me takes on the call and goes out on the street.

We’re seeing a lot of progress. Two of the top three states in the country—California and New York—just voted for a $15 minimum wage. Now I say our agenda is not just $15, but $15 and a union. We’re seeing a lot of progress for workers. But how we translate that into an election issue, that’s a challenge but I think we are up to the challenge.”

Gebre says the rise of women, people of color and immigrants in the labor movement, in our nation and in our politics presents an opportunity to harness that power to drive a working class agenda, which in turn will drive the politics. Gebre says many working people are angry and frustrated because they have been hurt by trade and economic policies. For workers to win, Gebre says, that anger has to be channeled into a genuine working class agenda that is powerful enough to drive the politics.

3 thoughts on “Fight For $15 Workers Protest Poverty Wages Worldwide

  1. If you cannot make a decent wage to afford kids, the WHY ARE YOU HAVING THEM ? WHY are you buying a house IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT ? That’s WHY the economy crashed in 2008 because so many people were underwater in their home finances. Have we learned nothing ?? Guess not. Simple economics tells us NOT to buy what we cannot afford. But, Mr. Hightower fails to understand this simple equation. That is why our country is doomed !

  2. I have not been a patron of fast food restaurants for about fifteen years. The reason? People frequently do not speak English sufficiently so that they understand me and I understand them, and the restaurants are not clean. But for those who do make use of these restaurants, what do you suppose is going to happen to prices, and the size of the workforce? Automation will replace workers, and the prices will increase to cover the additional employee costs.

    THESE ARE ENTRY LEVEL JOBS! Fast food jobs were NEVER meant to support a family; these jobs were for folks to pick up a few extra dollars, and as starter jobs with employees leaving these ENTRY LEVEL jobs as they gain skills in the marketplace. No education and low education workers who couldn’t be bothered to get a proper education or those who don’t speak English well enough to make it in higher level jobs are the people who end up working long term at fast food chains.

    AND, what do you suppose is going to happen to people who are now earning $15.00 per hour NOW? They will want a salary increase. So what will be gained? NOTHING!

    • Well said Slipper. People are having an problem actually thinking about this issue and the results of their actions. Why ? Because they have been poorly educated in basic economics. Just what the left wanted they got. But, the left knows exactly what they are doing because once the wage is raised to $15 an hour, they will make the case that union wages need to rise thereby pacifying their largest voter base. Costs of goods will soar !