While many of us had a day off on Labor Day, fast-food workers in Boston were among those in 300 cities who walked off their jobs in a call for better wages and the right to join a union. The Boston action started at 6 a.m. at a fast-food franchise on Tremont Avenue.
Among the workers calling for a better deal was Barbara Fisher of Boston. She’s worked in the fast-food business for the past five years and said she currently makes $11 an hour, which isn’t enough to support her family.
“I need $15 an hour and union rights,” she said. “I’m a mom of two kids and I’m struggling; I need to be protected because I’m a mom, and, you know, my kids get sick. Union rights, you know, it will do a lot.”
Massachusetts workers also rallied in support of a paid medical leave bill now pending in the legislature. Should state lawmakers not take action, labor unions are supporting ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and provide for paid medical leave.
Roxana Rivera is vice-president of the service employees’ union 32BJ SEIU. She said the show of force in so many cities on Labor Day was intended to make a point. She said the economic and political system in the United States needs fixing, and the union believes it’s rigged to benefit big corporations over working people.
“The issue of low wages, the issue of inability—to not be able to care for your loved ones without the risk of losing your job,” said Rivera. “In Massachusetts, as well as in other cities, there are workers that are on the lower rung of the service economy that really need to have the right to form a union, without retaliation from employers.”
Rivera said the Service Employees International Union is joining forces on a massive voter engagement drive ahead of the 2018 elections. She said the campaign aim to unseat “anti-worker” politicians and elect leaders who support a $15 hourly minimum wage and collective-bargaining rights.
Via Commonwealth News Service.