From Mcdonald's employees in Missouri, to airport laborers in New York, to Uber drivers in Los Angeles, workers from 340 cities in the United States are coming together to wage the “most disruptive” strike ever in the fight for a US$15 minimum wage.
In the first one conducted since U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, while many striking and protesting are fearful of the incoming administration’s austerity measures against low-wage workers and unions, Trump is not the focal point of their protests.
“Republicans in Congress, the GOP state legislatures, McDonald’s, airlines, they’re who our message is directed to. It’s not for any one particular person," organizing director of the Fight for 15 movement, Kendall Fells pointed out.
Trump’s position on a minimum wage increase, like much of his policies, is all over the map.
"He’s been all over the place," Fells said. "At one point he said wages were too high in this country; we showed up at the debate and he said US$10.”
With a federal minimum wage that currently sits at only US$7.25 an hour, and with CEOs from the country's largest corporations earning on average a staggering 340 times more than the average worker, for many, the issue is one of basic survival.
“With only being paid US$9 an hour, I constantly am worried about keeping a roof over my and my daughter’s head,” a worker that plans to strike, Marvette Hodge, told The Guardian. “In 2009, I was homeless for a couple of years.”
“America does not feel fair any more,” said another, Oliwia Pac, who works at Chicago’s O’Hare international airport, citing “long hours of difficult and both physically and mentally demanding labor.”
“The payment we receive is nowhere near the amount of blood, sweat and tears we expend at O’Hare,” she said. “I’ve stood out on jet-bridges in negative 30-degree weather with only a thin flannel to keep me warm. I’ve been told to push two wheelchairs at once. I get cuts and bruises all the time.”
The “Day of Disruption” will see thousands come out in cities across the country.