Americans are taking another ongoing fight head-on today with the official “Fight for $15 Day." Thousands have joined forces to demand better living wages for fast-food employees and all minimum wage earners.
Rallies and walkouts were scheduled in nearly 1,000 cities nationwide as they protest for a nationwide increase of minimum wage to $15 an hour.
I don’t believe it is a terribly radical idea to say that someone who works 40 hours a week should not be living in poverty. #FightFor15— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 10, 2015
This has been the largest show of force in three years since the mass movement was first launched with a series of rallies calling for increased pay and the right to unionize, USA Today reports.
Low-wage workers participating in the movement are supported by union workers from the Service Employees International Union.
"We need the $15 minimum wage to be the law of this state," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We need it to be something that people get all over this city, not just fast food workers. Everyone deserves a $15 minimum wage. "
As the protests continue to gain support within the activist community and among public figures, workers are hoping their fight will gain some political steam so the issue will factor into the candidates’ campaigns.
"It's not just the financial piece, it's also about the dignity," Kheila Cox of Boston reportedly said. Cox has seven children and makes $10 an hour as a baggage handler at Logan Airport.
Most of the Republican candidates oppose raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour, arguing that it will hurt job growth.
The National Restaurant Association claims a $15 base wage would force employers to replace workers with technology, such as touch-screen ordering tablets.
It also notes that about 90% of restaurants are small businesses that lack deep pockets. "Fifteen dollars is too far, too fast," group spokeswoman Christin Fernandez reportedly said.
Although the struggle for higher living wages has a long way to go, workers' voices are being heard louder than ever before. Cities including Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco have decided to gradually raise their minimum wage to $15 and New York City adopted a threshold base pay for fast food employees.
"What you have done has already changed the city, changed the state and changed this nation," de Blasio said to striking workers at a Brooklyn McDonald's.
Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @ATU998