National Day of Action Shows the Power of a Union
SEIU 2015 members marched through Los Angeles, Sacramento, Riverside, Fresno, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland on Thursday as part of a national day of action that mobilized thousands of workers in hundreds of cities across the country to demand a $15 minimum wage and union rights for all workers nationwide. In Downtown Los Angeles, we marched from LA’s financial district, where executives make millions, to a nearby McDonald’s, where workers make the minimum wage.
This month, California and New York became the first states to pass laws mandating that a statewide $15 minimum wage be phased in over the next few years. And even though we’ve been successful here, our work is not done until every American is making $15 an hour and has union rights. Nor are California workers, especially long term care workers, out of the woods.
Numerous states, including California, are faced with a severe staffing shortage in jobs related to long term care due to low pay and poor working conditions. California falls far short of the federally recommended quality staffing measures, which is why SEIU Local 2015 and Assemblymember Ian Calderon (Whittier-D) helped introduce Assembly Bill (AB) 2079. The bill would require nursing home facilities to increase their direct care provider-to-patient ratio to ensure there are enough caregivers per shift. Right now some CNA’s have to care for up to 15 patients at a time, often skipping breaks and lunch to do so.
We stood together in California and won a $15 minimum wage. We need to keep fighting for our rights at home and we need to stand with our brothers and sisters in the rest of the country.
The Fight for 15 is about much more than the minimum wage—it’s about the right to unionize, to demand the benefits workers have earned with safer working conditions, and to create laws that prevent wage theft. Employers steal $2.5 billion a year in minimum wage violations in California and New York. Without stronger enforcement, the historic wages in these states are in danger. In other words: We still have a lot to do.
California workers proved that when we fight together, we win. And we are continuing the fight. Last week’s march was a huge signal to lawmakers and big business all across America that we are united and will not settle for anything less than a livable wage and the protections workers deserve.
For the rest of the photos from the National Day Of Action check out our Flickr account.