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Fight for $15 Plans National Job Actions

Low-wage workers are planning strikes, protests and civil disobedience actions on Tuesday. (Bob Simpson/Flickr)
Low-wage workers are planning strikes, protests and civil disobedience actions on Tuesday. (Bob Simpson/Flickr)
November 28, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – Low-wage workers are planning job actions at work sites across the country to mark the fourth anniversary of the Fight for $15 movement.

At 6 a.m. Tuesday, fast food workers in more than 320 cities will go out on strike. They'll be joined by airport workers, home health aides, graduate teaching assistants and others in a day of protests, strikes and civil disobedience.

Marvette Hodge, a home care worker from Richmond, Va., says the protesters represent a force of 64 million workers of all races, religions and genders, and they are not afraid to make their demands heard.

"Fifteen dollars an hour and a union, affordable health care and justice for immigrants and people of color,” she states. “Our movement will stand with thousands of other working class people from communities across the country to fight."

Since the Fight for $15 movement began, New York state and California have passed laws to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour, but in Pennsylvania it is still just $7.25.

President-elect Donald Trump has sent different signals on the minimum wage, at times calling for its elimination and at other times supporting a $10 minimum.

But Kendall Fells, organizing director of Fight for $15, says voters across the country are not ambivalent.

"On Election Day, even as Donald Trump won, all five ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage passed handily in four states and one city, showing that raising wages is always a winning issue," he points out.

Fells notes that the ballot initiatives in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington all passed with broad, bipartisan support.

Some business leaders say a hike in the minimum wage would affect their bottom lines and force them to lay off workers or not hire more.

Since the Fight for $15 began four years ago, 22 million Americans have won raises. But Hodge says there's still a long way to go.

"No family should be forced to live in poverty in America,” she stresses. “The Fight for $15 gave me hope and changed the way that our country thinks about injustice and democracy. Our movement is needed now more than ever."

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA