On April 14 fast food and other low wage workers walked off the job in 230 cities, staging the largest-ever strike in their movement aimed at a $15 minimum wage and the right to form a union.
[caption id="attachment_5942" align="alignright" width="300"]Jonathan Dudley, a member from the Montachusetts
Opportunity Council came all the way from Gardner to attend the April 14 Fight for $15 rally[/caption]
The movement began with a single strike in New York City at the end of 2012 but has grown increasingly larger as the Fight for $15 movement has staged nine other days of coordinated strikes since then. April’s actions even went global, with strikes in Italy and New Zealand.
Dozens of members from various City of Boston departments, the Lottery, Somerville Crossing Guards, Chelsea City Hall and Chelsea Soldiers Home joined thousands of underpaid workers frustrated by low wages at the Boston rally in Forsyth Park, calling for higher wages and protesting growing wage inequality. Public Defenders who are seeking to form a union with Local 888 also joined the rally and carried their own banner. Click here to see pictures from April 14 march and rally.
“This is important for the families we serve,” said Jonathan Dudley, a Local 888 member from the Montachusett Opportunity Council who traveled all the way from Gardner to attend the rally. “Winning $15 an hour would make such a big difference in the lives of so many working families.”
Meanwhile, members in many chapters wore stickers on the job to show their support. In Fitchburg, Local 888 members from several chapters stood out with signs on the Upper Common to publicly promote $15 and a union. Click here to see pictures from April 14 march and rally.
[caption id="attachment_5970" align="alignright" width="300"]Local 888’s Fitchburg members stood out on the Upper Common to promote $15 and a union. Left to right are Patrick Mettler, Health Inspector; Roberta Phelan, Fitchburg Cafeteria Chapter Chair; Vincent Prendergast, Fitchburg Waste Water; Jennifer Fortin, Cook at Fitchburg Schools; Jill Mahoney and Carol Fulgiht.[/caption]
A recent Brookings Institution study shows that Boston is the third most inequitable city in the nation, with the top five percent of households earning 15 times what the bottom twenty make.
“Massive income disparity is hurting the state’s economy,” said Mark DelloRusso. “The Fight for $15 is an important movement addressing the growing wage inequality crisis.”
Legislative efforts underway Local 888 and the SEIU State Council are supporting three groundbreaking pieces of legislation intended to lift up low wage workers in Massachusetts.
Home care workers bill o Provides $15 an hour to nearly 20,000 workers who provide home care to seniors and people with disabilities through “agency” home care employers. o Requires annual cost reporting from home care agencies, including detailed financial disclosures of executive compensation and overhead costs.
Fast food and big box retail workers bill o Requires big box retail and fast food corporations to pay their employees at least $15 an hour by 2018. o Applies to hourly wage workers at corporate fast food chains and Big Box stores over 25,000 square feet and with 200 or more employees in Massachusetts.
Tipped wage bill o Gradually eliminates the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers. o Mandates that after 2022, tipped employees would have the same hourly minimum wage as workers in all other industries in Massachusetts.