Fifty years ago, Black sanitation workers in Memphis started a historic strike, marching with Martin Luther King to demand higher pay and fighting for a strong union.
Across the country, fast-food workers, sanitation workers from the original strike, and other underpaid workers are out in force to show that the fight continues. And that these workers won’t back down until they get the $15 and union rights they’ve been calling for.
This is the biggest wave of protests we’ve seen yet. Poor and disenfranchised people across the country are engaging in six weeks of direct action and nonviolent civil disobedience as part of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Both movements are fighting for more people to be able to join a union, so we can un-rig America’s broken politics and lift people of all races out of poverty. I’m proud to be standing with them.
Now more than ever, working people need strong organizations to fight back and win back the good jobs and fair pay that powerful corporations have stripped away over the years.
We’ve seen what happens when billionaires and corporations have all the power over politics and the economy: Big corporations get massive tax breaks, skyrocketing profits and millions in CEO pay, but 64 million Americans get paid less than $15/hour.
That doesn’t happen by accident – it happens because big corporations continue to ensure that working people don’t have the power of a union to fight back—and elected officials side with corporations instead of workers fighting for better wages and union rights.
Unions give people the power to stand up to racist politicians who work hand in hand with corporations to keep people of color locked in poverty.
In the past few years, workers in Birmingham, St. Louis and Kansas City have won big raises by going on strike with the Fight for $15. But white politicians in these states passed laws that let corporations steal those raises away. If workers had a union, then elected officials couldn’t step in and help corporations take raises away.
Dr. King stood with striking workers 50 years ago because he knew workers needed unions to be treated with respect. Today the Fight for $15 and the Poor People’s Campaign are ready to do whatever it takes to win a union so that all Americans – not just the wealthy and powerful - can have a shot at a decent life. And elected officials should stand beside workers, not help billion-dollar corporations fight against them.
Join us in the streets!
41 Backus St
Rochester, NY 14608
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