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Working people in Houston demand $15 minimum wage

By Fabian Van Onzin |
April 18, 2015
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Houston protesters demand $15 minimum wage
Houston protesters demand $15 minimum wage (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Houston, TX – Close to 1000 people protested outside of a busy McDonalds restaurant here, April 15, to demand a $15 per hour minimum wage. As the large crowd marched from the University of Houston, a dozen police on horseback lined the median of Elgin Street. Upon arriving to rally in the parking lot, 15 more police guarded the entrances to the McDonalds.

This was part of a national day of action in as many as 80 cities. Low-wage workers from across Houston came out to stand up to the bosses and demand $15 per hour in order to improve their lives. As they marched, they chanted, "We can't survive on 7.25!" People in the community waved in support.

"Working people in Houston cannot live on $7.25 per hour. Most low-wage workers have families to support and bills to pay, which the current minimum wage makes impossible. These big corporations that own McDonalds and other fast-food chains have plenty of money, and could easily pay their workers $15 per hour,” said Diana Barrera with Fight For 15.

Barrera continued, “Yet the bosses are more concerned with their profits than improving the living standards of their workers. We therefore are standing up to these corporations and will continue to fight until we get $15 per hour for all working people."

Members of the Higher-Education Workers Association, a group that is organizing the low-paid adjunct professors in Houston, also rallied. Adjunct instructors are paid poverty level wages for the courses they teach, do not receive healthcare benefits or pensions, and have no job security. Each semester adjuncts struggle to fill their classrooms or else go without work. Many adjuncts must work a heavy course load to make ends meet. Many teach between fine and ten classes, working part time at two or more colleges instead of at one work place.

The Fight For 15 movement is growing across the country with support from many unions. With mass support building up, some city councils like Seattle will pass progressive minimum wage laws. However, for workers to win other benefits and respect long term, they will need to organize at the place of production and form unions. As the Fight For 15 movement continues to build, more workers are overcoming their fears and standing up to the bosses.