Nobody's Paying Us To Get Arrested: Low Wage Strikes Spread
In a dismal week, a rare, under-reported shard of hope: Thursday's strikes by thousands of low-wage workers spread to over 190 cities, jumped industrial divides - fast food to home care, convenience stores to airports - and merged issues of race and class, with many of the largely black and brown crowds demanding in the wake of Mike Brown and Eric Garner not just a living wage, but justice.
The often emotional Fight For $15 campaign has already seen hourly wage successes around the country, with ten states passing higher wage bills, 22 establishing wage floors above the federal minimum, and Seattle passing a record-high $15 minimum wage. Fuelling the changes have been damning new reports from Walmart, the country's biggest and most infamous employer, that its obscenely rich owners have ducked millions in taxes and given almost nothing away - except for Alice Walton's hobby project of a $1.2 billion art museum holding a $500 million collection - while paying workers so little that taxpayers have to provide $6.2 billion a year in public assistance so they can survive. This, while a growing stream of beleaguered workers tell their eloquent stories of late rents, food banks, 200% interest payday loans and other elements of a hardscrabble life largely spent "trying to dig ourselves out of quicksand."
With their fight increasingly visible, so too are the promising (if occasional) stories of companies that actually treat their workers like human beings. The owner of a Detroit burger joint, who pays his employees a decent wage and blithely says it means he makes less and what of it, asks today's most vital question: "How much do we have to make? How big of a pile of money do CEOS have to sit on?"
ThinkProgress made a cool GIF showing how the fight for economic justice - now increasingly melding with the fight for racial justice - is slowly streaming across the country. It's not much, but this week, it's something.