Emboldened by a historic string of victories for $15/hour from California to New York to Pennsylvania, tens of thousands of home care, fast-food, child care, higher education, and other underpaid workers intensified their Fight for $15/hour and union rights, waged the largest-ever series of strikes, protests, and rallies in a record 320 cities nationwide and across 40 countries spanning six continents.
Fight for $15 strikes spread beyond the fast-food industry as well, as hospital workers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and nursing home workers across Florida walked off their jobs.
“McDonald’s is a symbol of everything that is wrong with our economy,” said Brenda Lozada, a home care worker from Aurora, Colo. who is paid just $11/hour after 12 years on the job. “McDonald’s is holding everyone back, not just fast-food workers. The company influences pay, how people are treated at work and how people run businesses, both large and small. The Fight for $15 isn’t just about fast-food workers getting higher pay. It’s about workers in every industry, all over the world being held back because of McDonald’s desire to make bigger profits.”
The Fight for $15 has built a growing awareness that $15/hour is the minimum wage level American workers in every part of the country need to survive and pay for the necessities to support their families. In addition to statewide increases to $15/hour in New York and California, cities including Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have raised their minimum wage to $15/hour. And home care workers in Massachusetts and Oregon won $15/hour statewide minimum wages. Companies including Facebook, Aetna, Amalgamated Bank, and Nationwide Insurance have raised pay to $15/hour or higher; workers in nursing homes, public schools and hospitals have won $15/hour via collective bargaining; and fast-food workers have ratcheted up pressure on companies like McDonald’s to raise pay to $15/hour.
Slate, among others, has credited the Fight for $15 with completely rewiring “how the public and politicians think about wages.” MSNBC said the Fight for $15, “entirely changed the politics of the country, and Fortune said the Fight for $15 “transformed labor organizing from a process often centered on nickel-and-dime negotiations with a single employer into a social justice movement that transcends industry and geographic boundaries.”