Minimum wage protesters want wage increase, right to unionize - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Minimum wage protesters want wage increase, right to unionize

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Workers took to the streets of Memphis as part of a "Day of Disruption," organized for a nationwide raise in the minimum wage.. The "Day of Disruption" included others in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago. It was all part of the National Day of Action to Fight to $15.

The workers marched along Union Avenue near Pauline Street in the Medical District. Police shut down eastbound lanes of Union Avenue to accommodate the protest.

The protest remained peaceful, unlike many others across the nation that lead to arrests. The protesters filled the sidewalks of Memphis. 

This is the second protest of the day in Memphis. The same group united Tuesday morning outside the McDonald's on Third Street.

The protesters say they want higher wages and union rights.

"I would go to work and kill myself for $7.25. Not anymore," Rae Gordon said. 

Gordon is a retired home healthcare worker, who soon may have to return to her minimum wage job. 

"I deserve better. You want me to take great care of your parents, your child, what about me?" Gordon said. 

She was one of many demonstrators out Tuesday night to fight for $15 an hour pay wage.

"It's about these billion dollar corporations that's sucking us dry. We're making all this money for them and they are not paying us nothing, little to nothing," Ashley Cathy said.

Cathy works two jobs in both the fast food and hotel industries. She said she's still living paycheck to paycheck, often forced to make tough financial decisions.

"Sometimes we have to sacrifice if we want to eat today or do we want to pay our light bill," she said. "Do I want to put some gas in my car or do I want to buy my child some Pampers? It shouldn't be like that."

National organizers called this nationwide strike a "Day of Disruption," representing fast food cooks, cashiers, baggage handlers, air plane cabin cleaners, and hospital workers.

If the workers were to receive $15/hour and work 40 hours a week for 52 weeks, that would give their annual salary at just over $31,000.

These protests were planned before the election, but leaders of this national movement said it became more urgent after President-elect Donald Trump's victory.

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