More than one hundred activists and union members gathered in Times Square on Thursday to stand in solidarity with minimum wage workers across the nation to commemorate their recent victory of a $15 minimum wage law in New York state.
The fight for a $15 minimum wage is one famously backed by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. It is also an international movement — spanning six continents and 300 cities. The movement has won victories in New York, California and Seattle.
Rebecca Cornick, a regular demonstrator and an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, attended the rally.
“I’ve been demonstrating for the past year and a half and it’s a worthy cause because I’ve lived in poverty for almost 10 years now — while working for fast food,” Cornick said. “So I felt like it was time to make a change and so I started coming out to the rallies — to make a difference and we actually did. We won our $15. ”
The mood was lively as a band played while participants passed around signs that read — translated from Spanish — “McSalaries impeded progress in New York,” “Raise America with Good Jobs” and “Economic Justice = Racial Justice = Immigration Justice.”
Jermaine Nelson, a member of the union 32BJ, also attended the rally.
“The goal is to get fair wage,” Nelson said. “We are not asking for much — just basic, basic things, so we can support our families.”
Many of the attendants have personally experienced the effects of minimum wage laws and therefore have a personal reason to celebrate the victory in New York. However, not all rally-goers of the event were minimum wage workers.
Tisch senior Emma Howard said her previous experience with Occupy Wall Street gave her insight on income inequality in the U.S.
“This cause is important to me because I spent time with a lot of homeless/unemployed people during the Occupy movement, who made me think a lot about income distribution and how the majority of people in the country don’t make a living wage,” Howard said. “Now that we’ve won 15, I think the aim is to get fast food workers to unionize, which I think is totally doable now that we’ve been able to organize people around the wage increase and we know it’s possible for people to organize like that.”
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