Published on
by

Fight for $15 and Rev. Barber Announce Fast-Food Worker Strike for Racial Justice and Voting Rights

On the 50th anniversary of the sanitation workers' march in Memphis, labor advocates and the new People's Poor Campaign will come together across the South

I am ready sign

The states-wide strike will be held on Feb. 12. (Photo: Fight for $15/screenshot)

Fifty years after the sanitation workers in Memphis marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to demand higher wages and safer labor conditions, Fight for $15 and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber are planning a fast-food workers strike in two dozen cities across the Southern United States to advocate for racial justice and voting rights.

"There's no separation between the moral battle for voting rights and participation in democracy and the moral battle against systemic poverty. Those battles go together," said Barber, who last year revived King's Poor People's Campaign and has supported the Fight for $15 minimum wage movement.

In a statement announcing plans for the protests, which are scheduled for Feb. 12, Fight for $15 compared the plight of the sanitation workers 50 years ago to that of fast-food workers today. "Now, we carry on the same fight," the group declared. "In 1968, 40 percent of Memphis sanitation workers qualified for public assistance; in 2018, 52 percent of fast food workers are on public assistance."

While Barber and members of the new Poor People's Campaign will march in Memphis with 1968 sanitation workers as well as advocates for labor and civil rights, Fight for $15 is urging its supporters to organize events across the country. 

"We're bringing two movements together—people fighting for a living wage, a lot of young people, along with poor people, moral leaders, people of faith," Barber told The Guardian. "We believe we can build a movement that can shift the narrative. Right now, we have an ugly narrative—'Elect me, I'll take away healthcare, I'll hurt the poor, and I'll give tax breaks to the wealthy.'"

Affiliated groups turned to social media Thursday to promote the states-wide strike:

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Share This Article