Breaking: US workers go on strike to demand $15-an-hour minimum wage
Low-wage workers at fast-food restaurant chains along with home care and nursing home workers in the US have gone on strike to demand a raise in their minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The strikes which occurred in 15 cities on Tuesday come as the Biden administration is trying to push through a rise in the federal minimum wage from $7.25, which would be the first increase in since 2009.
According to Press TV, Charleston, South Carolina; Chicago; Flint and Detroit, Michigan; Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina; Houston; Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, Florida; St. Louis; Oakland, Sacramento, and San Jose, California; and Milwaukee are the cities where the strikes took place.
Since 2012, the Fight for $15 movement has been organizing strikes in a bid to push for state and local minimum wage rises and an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“We hear you out there applauding essential workers. We see the big show you make of thanking us. But to be honest, that hasn’t translated into changes for my life. We were living on a razor’s edge long before Covid-19 hit South Carolina. And we’re living on it still,” said Taiwanna Milligan, a McDonald’s worker in Charleston who makes $8.75 an hour after working at the restaurant chain for eight years.
Another worker, Ieishia Franceis, who works at Freddy’s Frozen Custards in west Durham, North Carolina for $9.20 an hour, said she needs to save money to be able buy a home and better provide her family.
“A $15 minimum wage would free me up to do a lot of things. My main goal is to be able to save enough money to put a down payment on a house and have home ownership. It would allow me to begin that process. It would allow me to have money left from one paycheck to the next, to provide for my family better as far as food, and allow me to get transportation so I won’t have to take the bus,” she said.
Franceis and her co-workers once went on strike in October 2020 after their requests for paid sick leave for coronavirus quarantining and testing were denied.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed in March 2020 exempted employers with over 500 employees from offering employees two weeks pay if they needed to quarantine or recover from the fatal virus.
Now Franceis and her co-workers are demanding a $15 minimum wage, hazard pay while they work during the pandemic, as well as health benefits and ultimately a union.