First Post-Election ‘Fight for $15’ Rally

Still working for peanuts? The Fight for $15 movement rallied on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 for a "National Day of Disruption" in 340 cities, including L.A. and San Francisco. (cohdra/Morguefile)

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

LOS ANGELES – The election that gave Republicans control of the White House and both houses of Congress isn’t stopping the grassroots “Fight for $15” movement, which sponsored what it calls a “National Day of Disruption” on Tuesday, November 29.

The group had rallies and workers who participated in scattered strikes at McDonald’s restaurants across 340 cities. Airport workers also participated at rallies at Los Angeles International and San Francisco International Airports. Ana Espindola, a wheelchair attendant at LAX, said that after this election, the fight for a living wage is more important than ever.

“It’s a huge setback – that’s why I think it’s so important that we still keep pushing, Espindola said. “We still have to fight – we can’t just say, ‘Well, you know, he’s elected; we have to give up. There’s nothing we can do.’ I’m not the kind of person to just sit back and cross my hands and be like, ‘Well, you know, we’re defeated. That’s it.'”

President-elect Donald Trump has taken multiple positions on the minimum wage. And the House of Representatives hasn’t allowed a hearing or a vote on the idea of increasing the national minimum wage from $7.25 an hour since they defeated a bill in 2010 and filibustered another in 2014.

California’s minimum wage is currently $10 an hour. In the spring of 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will raise it to $10.50 as of January 1, 2017 and begins a gradual increase to $15 an hour by 2022.

Rico Johnson, an employee at Taco Bell, said he appreciates the momentum of the groups fighting for higher minimum wages.

“We’re organizing to get our voices out there,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to ensure that everything that we’ve done thus far does not stop – that it cannot stop. There’s too many families out here who are struggling.”

Tuesday marks the fourth anniversary of Fight for $15’s first victory. And on Nov. 8, voters in four states – Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington – approved increasing their minimum wages.