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IL Workers Join First-Ever National "Fight for $15" Convention

More than 100 Illinois fast-food workers are in Virginia for the first-ever nationwide "Fight for $15" convention. (Fight for $15 Chicago)
More than 100 Illinois fast-food workers are in Virginia for the first-ever nationwide "Fight for $15" convention. (Fight for $15 Chicago)
August 12, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Thousands of workers from across the country, including Illinois, have converged on Richmond, Virginia, this weekend to ramp up the fight for better wages and call attention to what poverty is doing to people of color.

It's the first-ever nationwide Fight for $15 convention, being held today and Saturday.

Solo Littlejohn is a fast-food worker from Chicago, and a member of Fight for $15. He said even though he's working, he's still eligible for public aid due to wages of about $8 an hour.

"With a higher wage, this is something that we would no longer have to rely on and therefore, it would no longer cost taxpayers so much money," he said.

Littlejohn is one of more than 100 Illinois workers who are in Virginia this weekend.

Organizers expect about 10,000 people from all 50 states to participate in the march and rally. Business groups, however, warn that higher wages could force employers to scale back jobs.

The former capital of the Confederacy was chosen as the site for the convention, to draw links between the crisis of today's falling wage floor and the effects it's having on working people of color.

Littlejohn sees it as one way to help minority voices reach a national audience.

"The Democrats, the Republicans, they've all had their conventions, and well, now it's the people's time to have a convention, for economic justice, we're going for racial justice, we're going for immigrant justice," he added.

According to the National Employment Law Project, more than half of black and Latino workers in the U.S. are paid less than a $15 hourly wage.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL