Have you heard about the Fight For 15?
It is a campaign of low-wage workers who are fighting for $15/hour and the right to form a union. In their own words, they are "fast food cashiers and cooks, retail employees, child care workers, adjunct professors, home care providers, and airport workers who work for corporations that generate tremendous profits, but don’t pay employees enough to cover basic needs like food, health care, rent, and transportation."
What started as a small spark of a couple hundred workers in NYC in 2012 has grown into a massive movement of people throughout the country and around the world claiming their right to earn a decent living, instead of settling for poverty wages.
From my vantage as a teacher in the Philadelphia public schools, the Fight for 15 campaigners are not just fierce workers organizing for a better employment situation; rather, they are whole people -- the families of my students, the residents of my school community, the former graduates of my classroom. And I am going to show up this Wednesday, April 15, to join with thousands of Philadelphians and march in support of the Fight For 15.
You should be there too.
If you've ever taught a student who didn't have secure housing, enough food to eat, or regular health care because their family didn't have the money -- you should be there.
If you've ever had to wake up a groggy student in class who was up late working a low paying service job to help out with the bills in their family -- you should be there.
If you've ever had a student tell you they didn't do their homework or couldn't participate in an afterschool club because they have to take care of their younger siblings while their parents are out at their 2nd or 3rd jobs just to scrape by -- you should be there.
And more broadly:
If you've ever benefitted by having union protection and/or a collectively bargained contract -- you should be there.
If you've ever done the math and realize that a family just cannot survive on $7.25/hour -- you should be there.
If you've joined in the recent protests and movement work directed toward racial justice, demanding that Black Lives Matter -- you should be there.
I am humbled and inspired by the courageousness of this action -- not simply to strike on Wednesday -- but to insist that we, as workers, as a city, as a whole society, can join in collective action to push back against a deeply inequitable economic system and instead build toward a changed future that prioritizes people over profit.
Things will kick off at the McDonald's on Broad and Arch at 3pm, and will then march through the city toward 30th Street Station. The Caucus of Working Educators will have an educator solidarity meet-up spot at 4pm at the SE corner of 30th and Market.