Massive Protests Planned for Labor Day as ‘Workers Strike Back’

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Workers in Chicago will “strike back” this Labor Day when they help launch a national movement to organize more unions and elect politicians who drive worker agendas rather those of corporations and wealthy individuals. That announcement came during a join press conference this week with SEIU Healthcare Illinois, SEIU Local 1, Fight for 15 and other groups. The Chicago launch will include a strike by fast food Fight for $15 workers at Pilsen area McDonald’s, followed by rallies at the Thompson Center and at the American Hospital Association. For too long, corporations have controlled politicians, kept wages low and kept workers rights down, workers said.

Fast food worker Laura Williams will be on strike Labor Day. She hasn’t received a raise in four years. Having a union would help to address that injustice, the 50-year-old single mom said. She also denounced Gov. Bruce Rauner for recently vetoing a bill that would raise the state minimum wage to $15. An aspect of the movement is for workers to dedicate 40 hours by November 2018 to identify and support politicians who will drive the worker agenda of $15 and union rights.

Union workers receive better wages, benefits and working conditions than non-union workers, said Oliwia Pac, who, along with other O’Hare Airport workers are seeking to form a union. Unions will help workers to address injustices, demand the dignity and respect they deserve for the work they do and address the low wages that keep them living paycheck to paycheck, she said.

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“I work for one of the riches and most prestigious institutions in the world, Northwestern University, and I barely made enough to survive and start a family for the last 6 years, ” said Jackson Bartlett, a visiting professor and Local 73 member. “We are fighting for a fair contract, living wages for instructors, course guarantees, and healthcare so we can do our best in the classroom. This Labor Day, we’re coming out full force with the Fight for 15 and hospital workers and other workers who have been beaten down by greedy corporations and politicians. We know as faculty, we’re stronger when we stand together.”

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