You’ve made it through Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Are you ready for National Labor Action Tuesday?
Advocates for low-wage workers across the nation, the “Fight for $15” campaign are calling for a national action on Nov. 29, throwing a potential monkey wrench into the ongoing Christmas consumer festival in an effort to bring attention to the plight of minimum-wage workers. The campaign hopes that thousands of workers will walk off the job, join worker marches or demonstrations or otherwise protest in 340 cities across the nation. The campaign is demanding better pay, beginning with a hike of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. It is currently a paltry $7.25 and has not budged in seven years.
But a higher hourly wage is not the only thing on the organizers’ Christmas list, which has taken a confrontational tone this pre-Trump administration season. “Now is not the time to fade away,” the action’s organizers say. “It is the time to stand and be counted.”
In addition to “$15 and union rights for all,” organizers issued a demand for climate justice and a call for an end to police killings, structural racism and deportations.
Fight for $15’s walkout announcement challenges “newly-elected politicians and newly-empowered corporate special interests” that “threaten an extremist agenda to move the country to the right.”
“Fight for $15 is declaring that we will not back down and that any efforts to block wage increases, gut workers’ rights or healthcare, deport immigrants, or support racism or racist policies, will be met with unrelenting opposition.”
In the past, the national day of action for raising the federal minimum wage has drawn workers from fast-food and retail industries. This year, workers at airports plan to join in, and Uber drivers say they will also participate, protesting what have become, according to some drivers, minimum or below-minimum wages at the on-demand car service.
Disruptions may be especially severe at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Hundreds of workers there voted last week to walk out for the entire day on Nov. 29. The labor clash at O’Hare has been brewing for years between the Service Employees International Union, which is supporting Fight for $15 nationally, and Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emmanuel. The airport's janitors, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and wheelchair attendants are currently paid $8.25 an hour, Illinois' minimum wage. Workers say they chose a date post-Thanksgiving to stage their protest to avoid snarling holiday travelers. Twenty other airports nationwide, including those in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, may also be affected by local protests, which could ultimately affect air travel nationally.
According to organizers, the various strikes, demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience planned for Nov. 29 are meant to put “the country’s biggest corporations" on notice that “they must act decisively to raise pay for fast-food, airport, home care, child care and higher education workers, among others.” The national actions are also intended “to let President-elect Donald Trump, members of Congress, governors, state legislators and other elected leaders know that the 64 million Americans paid less than $15/hour are not backing off their demand for $15/hour and union rights.”