No one should work full-time and still end up in poverty. It's time to raise the minimum wage.
If you were strolling around one of dozens of cities across America yesterday, you might have passed an incredible scene like this:
Or a raucous one like this:
Or a slightly unsettling one like this:
And maybe you turned to your friend/girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/co-worker/frenemy/office husband/office wife/car insurance rep and said, "What the heck is going on over there?" It sounds like they're chanting, "Brmite war a screen!"
(Or maybe you just said that to yourself. In your head.No judgments!)
In any case, here's what that was all about.
On April 15th, fast food workers and allies from more than 200 cities took to the streets to protest low wages in "Fight for 15" marches and rallies.
The current federal minimum wage is just $7.25 per hour, well below a living wage. Protesters hope to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and obtain the right to unionize.
Around the country, demonstrators got up and got out early.
The signs and chants varied from city to city, but the message remained the same: better wages now.
In the Twin Cities, protesters chanted, "What do we want? Fifteen! When do we want it? Now!" as they marched into a local McDonald's.
In Kansas City, workers chanted, "I believe that we will win!" while lifting protest signs high above their heads.
In New York, hundreds of people lay down on the sidewalk, taking up whole city blocks...
...they made some awesome balloons...
And built a GIANT RONALD MCDONALD EFFIGY out of ... I want to say papier–mâché? Let's go with papier–mâché.
They also reminded us that this is bigger than just the minimum wage.
In Philadelphia, it was all about giant banners. Like this one, which was dropped down two flights of stairs!
32BJ takes over Philadelphia City Council. #RaiseAmerica #povertydoesntfly
A photo posted by 32BJ SEIU (@32bjseiu) on
Also, an expert stopped by to remind the demonstrators that ... with great protests comes great responsibility.
BREAKING: We have a superhero in our wake! Spider-Man has joined the #FightFor15 in Philly! #15AndAUnion (Repost via @SEIU)
A photo posted by Working America (@workingamerica) on
In New Orleans, folks got ... pretty animated.
It wasn't just the U.S. either. People joined the fight from countries around the world.
It was an incredible, amazing day. And all of the protesters deserve a huge round of applause for their guts and determination.
But, you might be wondering: "Why all the fuss? I worked to get where I am today! Why should the guy flipping my burgers suddenly get $15 an hour."
I'll get to that in a minute. But I want to clarify one thing first ... we're not just talking about fast food workers here.
We're talking about health care workers, professors, retail workers, airport workers and so many others.
Many, many, many American workers are trying to raise their families on less than a living wage. And that's just not right.
Also there's strong evidence to suggest that raising the minimum wage would mean everybody gets a raise. Even you.
Also also, why is flipping burgers not a job that deserves respect?
Like, when did we all decide this? It's completely arbitrary. I personally do not want to live in a world where my burgers don't get flipped. That seems like hell.
Also also also, who says it's a guy flipping your burgers?
(It's 2015, people.)
The point is, when workers get treated with dignity and respect, we all win.
If you believe that all people in all lines of work deserve to be paid a fair wage so they can pay their bills, raise their kids, and take pride in their job, please help spread the word.
If we keep pushing, we can make this happen. For real.