“Fight 4/15”: Low-Wage Workers Call Nationwide Strike April 15

Isaiah J. Poole

Leaders of the “fight for $15” movement has set April 15 as the date for a nationwide strike to push for a living wage for all low-wage workers.

This movement that started with fast-food workers in 2012 is now expanding to include a whole range of occupations, ranging from health care workers to adjunct professors, say organizers.

The coalition that is leading this effort has set up a website, april15.org, where people can learn how to get involved in actions in their area. There are 2,000 partner groups supporting the strike, including the NAACP, the Moral Mondays movement, the coalition of groups organizing around #BlackLivesMatter, the Center for Popular Democracy, the International Union of Foodworkers, MoveOn.org and Credo.

“Workers chose tax day – 4/15 — to highlight their demand for $15 an hour and to call on profitable corporations to stop paying workers wages so low that they can’t afford basic needs without taxpayers’ help through public assistance programs like food stamps,” according to a statement released by the coalition.

The nationwide demonstrations will take place just days before progressive activists convene in Washington for the “Populism2015: Building a Movement for People and the Planet” conference co-sponsored by Campaign for America’s Future. A 12-point platform that is serving as the guiding document for the conference includes a call to “lift the floor under every worker by guaranteeing a living wage,” and key organizers of the Fight for $15 movement will be attending the conference to discuss their efforts.

The last wave of $15-an-hour strikes was on December 4, where workers in 190 cities staged protests. “Home care workers, convenience store cashiers, discount store clerks, airport cleaners and ramp workers and baggage handlers and skycaps and wheelchair attendants, Walmart associates, and federally contracted service workers are all calling for $15 an hour,” Dave Johnson wrote at the time.

The grassroots Fight for $15 effort have already scored a number of successes. They include the referendum at SeaTac, the airport district outside Seattle, that called for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, followed by the city of Seattle, which will go to that wage in stages between now and 2021, and San Francisco, which will hit the $15 minimum in 2018. All told, an estimated 9 million workers have seen their wages increase through ballot measures, legislation and other actions since the fast-food-worker protests started in 2012, according to a coalition statement.

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