By Nigel Roberts
Labor forces are planning the largest rally in decades—their latest effort in an uprising against low wages. On April 15 these workers will join their voices to demand a $15-per-hour living wage from rich industries that they say are pinching pennies on salaries.
The Fight for $15 movement burst onto the scene in late 2012 with several hundred fast-food workers. Three years later, the 2-million-member Service Employees International Union is spearheading the movement, according to the Associated Press.
With SEIU’s involvement, the movement has drawn a range of other low-wage workers, including child care providers, retail employees and home health care providers.
“I felt like I didn’t have a voice,” said Kimberly Thomas, a 50-year-old home health worker in Raleigh, N.C. “But then I saw the movement develop and asked, why can’t we do this? Wow, I have a voice now.”
For 15 years, Thomas has provided one-on-one care to elderly patients in their homes, from morning to night, at least 16 hours a day. She’s highly trained to handle health care emergencies, follow through on physicians’ orders and even provide basic physical therapy. Yet she earns just $10 per hour, without overtime and no health care.
“I feel like I don’t have a choice,” she lamented. “I can’t afford not to work. If you want to work in this field, you have to accept this.”