In what is being called the largest low-wage worker protest the United States has ever seen, tens of thousands of fast food, laundry, home care, child care, retail, and education employees walked off the job or staged rallies on Wednesday in more than 200 cities across the country.
They were joined by workers in 35 countries on six continents, from New Zealand to Brazil to Japan.
The mobilization was part of the movement for a $15 dollar minimum wage in the U.S., which has touched off a nation-wide conversation about poverty and inequality since fast food workers began a series of rolling strikes and workplace actions more than three years ago.
“Fast-food workers are joining together and standing up for what’s right, and with students, #BlackLivesMatter activists, adjunct professors, home care, Walmart, child care, and airport services workers standing with us, we are stronger than ever,” said Terrence Wise, a father of three who works at McDonald’s and Burger King restaurants in Kansas City, Missouri, in a press statement. “I know we will win.”
Backed by the Service Employees International Union, Wednesday’s rallies were timed to coincide with Tax Day in the U.S., in a bid to highlight the fact that low-wage workers are forced to rely on public assistance to get by.
Under the banner “We are worth more,” protesters are calling for living wages, as well as the right to organize in their workplaces without intimidation and retaliation.
In the streets on Wednesday, protesters made connections between social and economic justice. From Charleston, South Carolina to Ferguson, Missouri, protesters memorialized the lives of unarmed people of color killed by police and brought the message of the growing Black Lives Matter movement.
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