The fight for a $15 minimum wage hits 200 cities today


Low-wage workers will march in 200 U.S. cities today to call for a $15 minimum wage and for an easier path to unionization.

It’s the latest event in the “Fight For 15” movement, which began in 2013 to protest low wages in the fast food industry and has since expanded to home health-care workers, and, now, adjunct professors, who will call for a minimum $15,000 per course.

Several major retailers that employ lots of low wage workers have recently announced they’d increase their minimum wages. McDonald’s, one of the original targets of the movement, said earlier this month it would up its average hourly wage to more than $10 an hour, from $9 an hour, although just 10 percent of workers would be affected, since it only applies to company-owned stores.

In Washington D.C., the marchers will announce a city-wide ballot initiative for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

“In D.C., housing is getting more expensive, jobs are paying less and families are struggling to get by,” Delvone Michael, director of the D.C. Working Families, said in a statement issued by the organizers. “D.C. is facing its widest wage gap in 35 years and workers need $15 an hour, if they want to be able to support their families in one of the country’s most costly cities without relying on public assistance.”

The protests are organized and funded in part by labor organizations, who are hoping to make it easier for low-wage workers to unionize. The Service Employees International Union, one of the nation’s largest and most activist unions, has spent $15 million on the movement, according to the New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse, helping to hire dozens of organizers to rally workers nationwide.

The union has successfully brought a case currently being heard by the National Labor Relations Board that would make McDonald’s responsible for hiring and firing practices carried out by franchisees.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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