By Alfredo Garcia
Legions of underpaid workers have been trying to get a $15 raise for about two and a half years and counting. Fast food workers have been complaining that they do not make enough money to survive working in fast food restaurants for the wage of nine dollars an hour.
Low-wage workers went on a strike on April 15 for a $15 an hour. Not only this is going on in the U.S., there is also many protests going on for $15 an hour raise in 40 countries. There was a study released on April 13 by the Labor Center in University of California Berkley that reported $153 billion for public assistance was needed for underpaid working families.
A report by the National Employment Law Protection released on April 13, 2015 stated that 42 percent of U.S. workforce makes less than $15 an hour. Nearly 60 percent of Latino workers make less than $15 an hour and over 50% of African American workers make less than $15 an hour.
“We joined the fight for $15 because, for us, racial justice is economic justice,” said Charlene A. Carruthers, national director of Black Youth 100. “It’s important for students to be involved,” said Robert Ascherman, a student activist from New York University. Cities worldwide are protesting for this $15 an hour raise, especially since most fast food workers are students. Students now have to either decide whether to eat or to buy a book they need for class.
This is injustice, not only student’s work to pay off students loans but they do not make enough money to pay back the loan. There hasn’t been anything this big such as protests for the $15 raise for underpaid workers in the U.S., since the National May demonstration in 2006.
Organizers deliberately called the nationwide protest on April 15, 2015, Tax Day, to emphasize that taxpayers subsidize mega-million-dollar imperialist giants like Mc Donald’s and Wal-Mart that pay workers poverty wages. Not only do these underpaid workers fight for their raise, but also for their union rights.
These workers fight for their union rights as well because they get their overtime hours reduced, so they might work 10 hours overtime but actually get paid about 4 or less hours of overtime. This is not about reducing overtime hours it’s that they don’t get paid exactly what they worked for overtime to earn that extra cash they need.
Underpaid workers will not rest until they are complied with their $15 raise and that their union rights aren’t violated.