fresh voices from the front lines of change







On a day when millions of Americans render a portion of their earnings to the federal government, thousands of low-wage workers, adjunct professors, some elected officials, and at least one CEO are standing up for an $15 dollar minimum wage — a livable wage for Americans who don’t earn enough to afford essentials like food, shelter, and medical care. The Fight for $15 movement launched marches and actions in 200 American cities today. The movement has grown exponentially since it began in 2013, and its cause has spread.

State and local governments, and some corporations have stepped out ahead of the federal government to raise minimum wages.

The heart of the movement continues to be empowering workers to raise their voices and unite to stand for livable wages and decent working conditions; workers like Sabrina Johnson, from Boston.

The movement that began with fast food workers has grown to include workers from other fields and industries.

In New York City, Attorney General Eric Schniederman rallied with home health care workers like Rosemary Rumbley, who earns $10 an hour providing care to a woman paralyzed by routine back surgery, but has to rely on Obamacare for her own health care. “Listen,” Rumbley said, “when you have people working, working hard, all day, and they can’t get health care or put food on the table or pay the rent, that’s a problem, a big problem. And that’s all of us, that’s where we are.”

In Cleveland, Ohio, and other cities across the country, adjunct professors have joined with a #FacultyFor15K movement of their own. According to a census data by the University of California–Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education, 25 percent of part-time adjunct professors receive some form of public assistance. David Wilder, an art and art history adjunct said, “We identify with other low-wage workers who have been coming out for the Fight for 15. We feel as though we are in the same situation. That might strike the public as an odd thing, but there are connections.” Adjuncts are rally to demand “$15,000 per course.”

Child care workers joined the movement this year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, child care workers earn a median pay of $9.38; a pittance considering the importance of their role in education, and that many have college degrees.


In Chicago, Brink Security workers walked out on strike, inspired by the Fight for $15 movement.


In Minneapolis, Minnesota, 100 protestors shut down the road to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Across the country, [40,000 baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and other airport workers joined the movement](baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and other workers )

It’s no coincidence that today’s protests coincide with “Tax Day” either. A recent report from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that low wages cost American taxpayers over $150 billion annually, because workers are forced to rely on public assistance. That’s how much we’re subsidizing companies that refuse to pay workers a living wage. It’s just one more way the “Fight For $15” is everybody’s fight.

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