Marching for Minimum Raise

April 15, 2015
by Lisa Calcasola

By the time the Fight for 15 protests stopped in Times Square in Manhattan on , it was dark. People who had been preparing for the event weeks ahead of time dropped their signs on the side of the road to be recycled and went their separate ways.

Even with most of the protestors gone, the space still felt electric with its energy.  I talked with Chantelle and Monica; Monica had a camera around her neck. I asked if she was interested in film, and she told me she was in film school now, studying to be a director. Film is one of the most accessible forms of media there is, and can reach a multifaceted audience, she said.

“I’m really interested in documentaries,” Monica said. “Film can shed light on lots of social issues and get the word out, teach people about what’s going on.”

When asked what she thought today’s biggest message was about, Chantelle feistily replied, “It’s all about not letting corporations steal from the people.”

“Corporations make billions of dollars and what’re they doing with it? They’re keeping it for themselves and stealing from the people. Today is all about making sure we don’t let them win. We won’t go down without a fight.” Continue reading

Fighting for 15 — Jesse Jones

By Lisa Calcasola

Among those rallying the Fight for 15, a raise in the minimum wage this week, was Jesse Jones. The goal: a $15 an hour minimum wage increase and the right for workers to unionize.

Mr. Jones just started working at Wendy’s fast food restaurant
just a week and a half ago, specifically in order to join Wednesday’s protests as a fast food worker.

“I don’t have much to say,” Mr. Jones began. “See that lady over there? She organized this whole event. You should talk to her.”

“We’ve been doing this thing for a few years now,” he began, referring to the Fight for 15 rallies.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger and we’re not gonna stop until we win. We can’t stop.”

When asked what he personally would do with the minimum wage raise, Mr. Jones laughed and

said, “Party.”

“But really,” he said. “People would do whatever they wanted to do. They’d have more leisure

time to get with friends, or get that iced coffee, or whatever. The point is they’d have more time

to live, instead of just working and sacrificing and feeling like none of it is paying off.”

“I’m thirty-eight years old now. It’s too late for me. But I fight for the younger generation, too, so that you and your kids won’t be in the same position we’ve been in. Students have a lot of problems, too, with increased student loan debt. They’re also forced to take minimum-wage jobs to get by.”
Continue reading

A Leader in Fast-Food Workers’ Campaign

Interesting article in the New York Times today. Click here.

On Thursday, Dec. 4, the Fight for 15 campaign staged another wave of one-day strikes, this time in more than 150 cities, with home care aides and convenience store workers joining the protests in several of them. Terrance Wise was at the forefront in Kansas City, demonstrating outside McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s restaurants. Steve Greenhouse of the NY Times tells his story.

Income Inequality is Theme for Film Festval

The Workers Unite Film Festival s opening in New York City with income inequality as a theme. A full schedule is available at the website here

Andrew Tilson, executive director, describes it:  “Our focus this season is on income inequality and how workers by organizing and uniting into unions can fight back against this widening income gap. The Workers Unite Film Festival team has been hard at work previewing films, setting up new venues, organizing partnerships and building the best worker/labor film festival we can for our third season.

Our themes of equal pay for equal work for women, dignity and legal status for immigrant workers, a living wage for all, including fast-food workers and workplace rights and justice for every employed person every type, be they on a shop floor, driving a taxi or working in the old and deadly garment sweatshops of Bangladesh, or the new high-tech sweatshops of the social media industry.”